In order to help blind people in navigation tasks, avoiding obstacles and identify objects, many technological aids offer vision substitutes.
Many such substitutes presently exist, most of which are still at the research stage and few have reached the mass market.
However many blind people use mobile phones, since these devices are extremely popular with the entire population and they have accessibility features for blind peoples’ comfort.
Among other things, the existing GPS technology of mobile phones may allow direct routing of vehicles and can be used for guidance similar to the way a Guide dog or even a human assistant would guide a blind person on the street.
We developed a GPS solution for blind people. A smartphone application receive voice input from the blind user informing it where he/she wants to go (see drawings). The software then creates a route for the user and using the digital compass integrated in the smartphone, gives him/her directions regarding the route utilizing vibrations on the blind’s cane or on a watch like hand-belt, i.e. the blind person will receive constant vibrations and these will change if he/she goes off track or following wrong directions.
The app. is also capable of producing a sine waves sounds output that continuously varies depending on the angle from the current location to the next point on the route. When the blind user is close enough to that point, the point is changed to the next point on the route. This process repeats until he/she reaches the required destination. Integrating Bluetooth technology with a micro-controller makes this solution “Hand free”.
The change is gradual with the change of angle and conceptually simple to decipher it even instantly.