A smart building and receptor, for the blind

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10 Δεκ 2013 (πριν από 3 χρόνια και 11 μήνες)

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A smart building and receptor, for the blind


Objective
-

To improve
the
quality of life for

blind people by developing a system
that will
provide the users
with feedback allowing them to “see”

a room. The user will be able to receive audio information about
the room that a sighted person might take for granted
. A
smart building

and

receptor

will assist th
ose
using

the

device

to

independently locate
features of a room, and
specific
rooms
/areas i
n
the
building.


Introduction
-

Huge advancement
s

in technology ha
ve

led to

a way to build

electronic gadgets like mobile
devices

and tablet PC
s,

which can help to serve mankind.
One aspect of how technology can serve
mankind is to improve the lives of peop
le by addressing certain needs or difficulties. For example, blind
people are often dependent on a sighted guide
whe
n
ever they go

somewhere unfamiliar
. This
initiative/project is to
help blind users increase their

independ
en
ce

outside their homes
. The
deve
lopment of a smart building and receptor system would allow blind users to navigate unfamiliar
buildings which employ this system while minimizing the need of assistance from a sighted person.


Detailed Description
-

When a sighted person enters a building

he

or she

immediately and subconsciously gathers
some introductory

information about the building. This includes
the location of

other exit

doors,
the
reception

desk
,
the elevator
s
, fire extinguishers, the restrooms
,

and so on.

But a blind person is
depen
dent on some sighted person to help or assist in finding some

feature of the room or
location in
the building.

To make life eas
ier for

blind pe
ople
, we are

developing

a system
through which

a blind person
can get
information about particular locations in
a
building

and the path
to

follow to reach
where he or
she wants to go
. This can be achieved by using a mobile devi
ce or tablet PC with a wireless
internet
connection and a GPS receiver which can instantly get a map of

the building and room the user
enters
,
based on sensors installed to track exact room the user is in inside the building.

By tracing the stylus on
the screen of the

device the program would give audio information about the room
,

or instructions
to
help the blind

person to determine
his or her

way around the building
.


The application itself would have a simple user interface for ease of use, with basic and clear
audio instructions to navigate around the features of the program
;
describing a specific room, obtaining
a directory of rooms in the
building,
or

finding directions to other locations in the building.

The app
could potentially be configured to allow the user to decide what level of information they want to
receive. Ideally, the user would be able to communicate with the program via simp
le spoken commands
to make the system easier to use, with future implementation including more complex spoken
commands.

This

system

will im
prove the quality of life of

blind people as they
will not be

dependent on
a person

to guide them in the building.
It

will help by

providing safe passage instructions,

including

known obstacles and locatio
ns of key areas in the building
,

making
it easier

to access resources
independently.


Besides making life
better

for the blind
,

which is our main focus,
the system coul
d

also

be

useful
for anyone who enters

the building and uses

th
e system. Any person could use the program to
find
an
easy

path to the
ir

destination

inside the building. It can be
especially useful in case of emergen
cy
situations like a fire or a black
out
at some particular part of the buildi
ng, where the maps provided
through the program can help the user find

the
way

out
.

Future implementation could build on these developments to further improve the
independence of blind users. The application could be up
dated with day to day changes such as menus
in a cafeteria the user enters, which a sighted user would see above the cash register, or even more
transient changes such as the name of the employee on station at the help desk the user is approaching,
which a

sighted user would see on the employees name tag.

The sensors installed in buildings could help
track the location of people for emergency personnel in cases such as fire or armed robbery. The
application could be improved as other technologies are create
d, for example to tell the user when he
or she is approaching an obstacle, and a path to take to get around it. Add to this the capability to detect
steps or other objects at lower heights, such as books left on the floor, and the user could discard
depend
ence on a cane and walk with confidence. These are but a few ways in which the system could
grow in the future.


Requirements
-



M
ap

data of a few building
s

(such a
s location of rooms and objects
inside the rooms)

o

May need to improve upon existing data to sh
ow objects in the rooms

o

Descriptions of map and objects in room



Voiceover for text descriptions

o

Translation software for descriptions and voiceovers in other languages



Access to GPS location

o

Method to locate position inside of building

o

Sensors at entrances

to building/rooms



An

Internet
-
b
ased database (Google Datastore
)



Android application connecting to
(
Cloud
)

server



Tablet for testing app



Computer for developing app



Electronic compass capability for mobile device

Future
-



V
oice control function



Proximity
sensor for mobile device

User requirements
-



Tablet or mobile device with app installed




(Optional) headset


Budget Estimate
-

Development
-

Assuming availability of computers for development purposes, and

tablets and other
mobile devices

for testing purposes, cost is in mainly time for said development and
testing.

There m
ay be additional expenses for development of sensors, if current technology
cannot meet the needs of the application.

Approximate estimate
-

$15 per door needing
sensor,

comparing to a sensor for detecting intruders.
http://cfpub.epa.gov/safewater/watersecurity/guide/productguide.cfm?page=exteriorintrusionsensors



Building Management
-

Buying sensors for building, or buying sensors when signing on to have building plans
i
ncluded in app
-

estimate $15 per door as above.


User
-


The application would be free to the user
-

the user needs access to a tablet, smart
phone, or other mobile device capable of accessing the internet and running
applications.