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A white cane is a typical support instrument for the visually impaired. They use a white cane for the detection of obstacles while walking. So, the area where they have a mental map, they can walk using white cane without the help of others. However, they cannot walk independently in the unknown area, even if they use a white cane. Because, a white cane is a detecting device for obstacles and not a navigation device for their correct route. Now, we are developing the navigation system for the visually impaired which uses indoor space. In Japan, sometimes colored guide lines to the destination is used for a normal person. These lines are attached on the floor, we can reach the destination, if we walk along one of these line. In our system, a developed new white cane senses one colored guide line, and make notice to an user by vibration. This system recognizes the line of the color stuck on the floor by the optical sensor attached in the white cane. And in order to guide still more smoothly, infrared beacons (optical beacon), which can perform voice guidance, are also used.
Date of Conference: 1-5 Sept. 2004