Bachelor ThesisOpenVNAVI: A Vibrotactile Navigation Aid for the Visually Impaired
Supervisor: René Bohne
According to the World Health Organization 285 million people worldwide are estimated to have a degree of visual impairment, with 39 million of them suffering from complete vision loss.
The current degree of technological development of many fields has brought and continues to bring comforts and life-changing improvements to our lives: smartphones, GPS, self-driving cars, etc. However, blind and visually impaired (BVI) people still rely on century-old methods for navigating the world on their own:
The white cane, a simple, affordable tool used by the BVI community as an obstacle detection device by means of direct interaction with the obstacles; and the guide dog, used as an obstacle avoidance and navigation aid, although not affordable for the vast majority of the BVI community.
The aim of this Bachelor Thesis is to create a low-cost system based on vibrotactile feedback that improves upon the functionality of the guide dog as an obstacle avoidance and a navigation aid, allowing more BVI users to navigate the world easily and safely.
First, an exploration of the related work from the past decades is performed, analyzing the state of the art and the current areas of research. Then, the author analyzes the requirements and describes the implementation of all the features and components of the system. After that, an evaluation of the implementation of the system is performed. Finally, an exploration of the possible future development is presented.