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Development and evaluation of an open source wearable navigation aid for visually impaired users (CYCLOPS)

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4 Author(s)
Barbara Salonikidou ; Dept. of Autom., Alexander Technol. Educ. Inst. of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece ; Dimitris Savvas ; Georgios Diamantis ; Alexander Astaras

A wearable computing navigation aid for the visually impaired was designed, tested and evaluated in a series of pilot experiments. The system comprises an ultrasonic transceiver, a digital compass with a built-in accelerometer, sound playback electronics, a vibration motor and a microcontroller, all integrated inside a glove. The system prototype is power autonomous for about an hour and interfaces with the user through both audio and tactile output. The system design goals were reliability, wearability, power autonomy, an intuitive user interface, and open source architecture, low cost and rapid prototyping. A total of 16 pilot testers participated in evaluation experiments, in which they had to use CYCLOPS ( to navigate an unfamiliar obstacle course towards a goal destination designated by an audio target. 5 of the pilot testers were visually impaired, and 11 were blindfolded seeing individuals. Post-experiment interviews were used to collect qualitative data from all participants. Results indicate that pilot testers of both groups found CYCLOPS to be intuitive to use for blind navigation, even after a brief 5min familiarization period. Several functional corrections and requirements were extracted from the experimental and qualitative data, which will be used to drive the design of future CYCLOPS prototypes.

Published in:

Bioinformatics & Bioengineering (BIBE), 2012 IEEE 12th International Conference on

Date of Conference:

11-13 Nov. 2012