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Tachiquin, R., Velazquez, R., Del-Valle-Soto, C., Gutierrez, C. A., Carrasco, M., De Fazio, R., et al. (2021). Wearable Urban Mobility Assistive Device for Visually Impaired Pedestrians Using a Smartphone and a Tactile-Foot Interface.21(16), 5274.
Abstract: This paper reports on the progress of a wearable assistive technology (AT) device designed to enhance the independent, safe, and efficient mobility of blind and visually impaired pedestrians in outdoor environments. Such device exploits the smartphone's positioning and computing capabilities to locate and guide users along urban settings. The necessary navigation instructions to reach a destination are encoded as vibrating patterns which are conveyed to the user via a foot-placed tactile interface. To determine the performance of the proposed AT device, two user experiments were conducted. The first one requested a group of 20 voluntary normally sighted subjects to recognize the feedback provided by the tactile-foot interface. The results showed recognition rates over 93%. The second experiment involved two blind voluntary subjects which were assisted to find target destinations along public urban pathways. Results show that the subjects successfully accomplished the task and suggest that blind and visually impaired pedestrians might find the AT device and its concept approach useful, friendly, fast to master, and easy to use.
Keywords: assistive technology (AT); augmented GPS (A-GPS); navigation mobile app; outdoor orientation; tactile-foot interface; visually impaired pedestrians; urban mobility