Assistive Navigation

This work introduces a wearable system to provide situational awareness for blind and visually impaired people. The system includes a camera, an embedded computer and a haptic device to provide feedback when an obstacle is detected. The system uses techniques from computer vision and motion planning to (1) identify walkable space; (2) plan step-by-step a safe motion in the space, and (3) recognize and locate certain types of objects, for example the location of an empty chair. These descriptions are communicated to the person wearing the device through vibrations. We present results from user studies with low- and high-level tasks, including walking through a maze without collisions, locating a chair, and walking through a crowded environment while avoiding people.

  • [PDF] H. Wang, R. K. Katzschmann, B. Araki, S. Teng, L. Giarre, and D. Rus, “Enabling Independent Navigation for Visually Impaired People through a Wearable Vision-Based Feedback System,” in Ieee international conference on robotics and automation (icra), Singapore, 2017.
    [Bibtex]
    @inproceedings{wang2017enabling,
    abstract = {This work introduces a wearable system to provide situational awareness for blind and visually impaired people. The system includes a camera, an embedded computer and a haptic device to provide feedback when an obstacle is detected. The system uses techniques from computer vision and motion planning to (1) identify walkable space; (2) plan step-by-step a safe motion in the space, and (3) recognize and locate certain types of objects, for example the location of an empty chair. These descriptions are communicated to the person wearing the device through vibrations. We present results from user studies with low- and high-level tasks, including walking through a maze without collisions, locating a chair, and walking through a crowded environment while avoiding people.},
    address = {Singapore},
    author = {Wang, Hsueh-Cheng and Katzschmann, Robert K and Araki, Brandon and Teng, Santani and Giarre, Laura and Rus, Daniela},
    booktitle = {IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA)},
    title = {{Enabling Independent Navigation for Visually Impaired People through a Wearable Vision-Based Feedback System}},
    year = {2017}
    }

Link to the Wearable Blind Navigation Project at the Distributed Robotics Lab, CSAIL, MIT