Using Computer Vision and Sonification to Help the Visually Impaired Maneuver Obstacles
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Due to millions of people suffering from blindness; throughout their life, they require a conscious effort to integrate perceptions from their remaining sensory modalities, memories, or even verbal descriptions to enhance their autonomy. To date, all tools used by the visually impaired barely support all the desired perceptual integration; they constitute functionalities in disproportionate capacity to what is pragmatically required. This is due to lacking end-user involvement in developing the tools’ design. In our deeper field study through guided interviews, questionnaires and observation guides; investigating the challenges faced by the visually impaired in using the existing tools in Uganda, a portable, easy to learn and a wide scoped and spanned object detection tool is mostly desired by end-users. The end-users are mainly youths aged between 18 to 29 years and are majorly supported by their families. Therefore, since the interests of the end-users are mainly inclined towards portability, learnability and detection capability of the tool, we have implemented a tool that makes use of a smartphone and various sensors to embed functionalities of the would-be independent devices. This ensures a decrease in the bulkiness of the tool. It makes use of strategically placed wearable chips to free the hands of the user from a load of holding the stick. It has increased on the scope of objects that can be detected by the tool as much as possible. Additionally, since families are the major support teams of the visually impaired, we recommend that the government supports the families of the visually impaired so that they get access to this support tool and necessary training required by their visually impaired children.