Kinect Technology Helps Lead The Blind

Researchers at a German university have built an apparatus that, while clunky in its proof-of-concept stage, could assist the blind as they cross streets, walk down hallways and open doors. It uses the Kinect as a sensor.

In lay terms, how it works is that it scans the environment for special placards with symbols on them. Once recognised, the system's audio relays to its wearer the distance of the next objective (a doorway, for example) and its position.

So for example, if you walk towards a door the output will be "Door ahead in 3″, "2″, "1″, "pull the door" where each part of the information depends on the distance to the marker on the door.

The device includes a vibration motor in the belt, whose pulse gets stronger as the wearer approaches an objective, presumably as a redundant alert. You can see how it all works in that video above. A blindfolded user was able to navigate a short course with it.

Kinect Bringing Sight to the Blind, Sorta [Slashgear - Thanks adinnieken!]


    Thats really cool. All for something that gives people greater mobility and it's a great example of how unexpected benifits spring from different areas of technology. I remember a sci-fi story where blind people used something very much like this but had the cameras built into a shirt and running from a belt pack. I'd imagine something similar with the camera elements of the kinect attached to a strip on your chest running from an i-phone type device in the pocket.

    That's great because kinect is cheap many developers and researchers can spend very little and take risks on ideas.

    How about a surveillance system that tracks burglars?
    Kinet on your car could detect cars in your blind spot to warn and or apply the brake to avoid collisions.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now