Guide boots warn blind people of obstacles with ultrasound and cameras

InnoMake shoes are equipped with a toe-mounted proximity sensor module that works on the principle of

echolocation. This is the way in which the position of the object is determined by the delay time of the returns of the reflected wave. The same sensor receives reflected waves from obstacles on the way.

These shoes reveal potentialobstacles located at a distance of up to 4 meters in front of the user. A person receives a warning through a tactile feedback system, as well as a sound signal from a smartphone that is connected via Bluetooth. In addition, the LEDs on each sensor can be configured to flash when an obstacle is detected.

The shoes are designed in collaboration with the AustrianGraz University of Technology TU Graz). Scientists are now developing a version of the shoe's removable sensor module, equipped with a camera. The camera output is analyzed by deep learning algorithms from two sides.

TU Graz researcher David Shinagle analyzes three shots from the boot's cameras. Photo: TU Graz

First of all, the video is used as an addition toultrasound system. In addition, when an obstacle is detected, the video is used to recognize it. The deep learning system will give the user a hint on how to proceed in each specific situation. Can a person go around, for example, a stone or is it worth changing the route so as not to collide with a wall.

New sensor units associated with applications will exchange data over the Internet. Thus, “obstacle maps” of various cities for blind people will be created.

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