Exploring the Use of Wearables to develop Assistive Technology for Visually Impaired People
AuthorPalathingal, Manju Jose
Computer Science and Engineering
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This thesis explores the usage of two prominent wearable devices to develop assistive technology for users who are visually impaired. Specifically, the work in this thesis aims at improving the quality of life of users who are visually impaired by improving their mobility and ability to socially interact with others. We explore the use of a smart watch for creating low-cost spatial haptic applications. This app explores the use of haptic feedback provided using a smartwatch and smartphone to provide navigation instructions that let visually impaired people safely traverse a large open space. This spatial feedback guides them to walk on a straight path from source to destination by avoiding veering. Exploring the paired interaction between a Smartphone and a Smartwatch, helped to overcome the limitation that smart devices have only single haptic actuator.We explore the use of a head-mounted display to enhance social interaction by helping people with visual impairments align their head towards a conversation partner as well as maintain personal space during a conversation. Audio feedback is provided to the users guiding them to achieve effective face-to-face communication. A qualitative study of this method shows the effectiveness of the application and explains how it helps visually impaired people to perceive non-verbal cues and feel more engaged and assertive in social interactions.