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Exploring the Use of Wearables to Enable Indoor Navigation for Blind Users
Computer Science and Engineering
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One of the challenges that people with visual impairments (VI) have to have to confront daily, is navigating independently through foreign or unfamiliar spaces.Navigating through unfamiliar spaces without assistance is very time consuming and leads to lower mobility. Especially in the case of indoor environments where the use of GPS is impossible, this task becomes even harder.However, advancements in mobile and wearable computing pave the path to new cheap assistive technologies that can make the lives of people with VI easier.Wearable devices have great potential for assistive applications for users who are blind as they typically feature a camera and support hands and eye free interaction. Smart watches and heads up displays (HUDs), in combination with smartphones, can provide a basis for development of advanced algorithms, capable of providing inexpensive solutions for navigation in indoor spaces. New interfaces are also introduced making the interaction between users who are blind and mo-bile devices more intuitive.This work presents a set of new systems and technologies created to help users with VI navigate indoor environments. The first system presented is an indoor navigation system for people with VI that operates by using sensors found in mo-bile devices and virtual maps of the environment. The second system presented helps users navigate large open spaces with minimum veering. Next a study is conducted to determine the accuracy of pedometry based on different body placements of the accelerometer sensors. Finally, a gesture detection system is introduced that helps communication between the user and mobile devices by using sensors in wearable devices.