KI - Künstliche Intelligenz

, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 29–36 | Cite as

A Camera-Based Mobility Aid for Visually Impaired People

  • Tobias Schwarze
  • Martin LauerEmail author
  • Manuel Schwaab
  • Michailas Romanovas
  • Sandra Böhm
  • Thomas Jürgensohn
Technical Contribution


We present a wearable assistance system for visually impaired persons that perceives the environment with a stereo camera system and communicates obstacles and other objects to the user in form of intuitive acoustic feedback. The system is designed to complement traditional assistance aids. We describe the core techniques of scene understanding, head tracking, and sonification and show in an experimental study that it enables users to walk in unknown urban terrain and to avoid obstacles safely.


Wearable navigation aid Visual impairment Binocular vision Sonification 



This work was supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research within the research project OIWOB, Grant no. 13EZ1126.


  1. 1.
    Benjamin J, Malvern J (1973) The new C-5 laser cane for the blind. In: Carnahan conference on electronic prosthetics, pp 77–82Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Blauert J (1997) Spatial hearing: the psychophysics of human sound localization. MIT Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Dakopoulos D, Bourbakis N (2010) Wearable obstacle avoidance electronic travel aids for blind: a survey. IEEE Trans Syst Man Cybern Part C Appl Rev 40(1):25–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Fajarnes GP, Dunai L, Praderas VS, Dunai I (2010) CASBLiP—a new cognitive object detection and orientation system for impaired people. Trials 1(2):3Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Geiger A, Ziegler J, Stiller C (2011) Stereoscan: dense 3d reconstruction in real-time. In: IEEE intelligent vehicles symposium, pp 963–968Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Gonzalez-Mora J, Rodriguez-Hernandez A, Burunat E, Martin F, Castellano M (2006) Seeing the world by hearing: virtual acoustic space (VAS) a new space perception system for blind people. In: Information and communication technologies (ICTTA ’06), vol 1, pp 837–842Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Hermann T, Hunt A, Neuhoff JG (eds) (2011) The sonification handbook. Logos Publishing House, LondonGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Kay L (1964) An ultrasonic sensing probe as a mobility aid for the blind. Ultrasonics 2(2):53–59CrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Kraft E (2003) A quaternion-based unscented Kalman filter for orientation tracking. In: 6th international conference of information fusion, vol 1, pp 47–54Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Pradeep V, Medioni G, Weiland J (2010) Robot vision for the visually impaired. In: 2010 IEEE computer society conference on computer vision and pattern recognition workshops, pp 15–22Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Romanovas M, Schwarze T, Schwaab M, Traechtler M, Manoli Y (2013) Stochastic cloning Kalman filter for visual odometry and inertial/magnetic data fusion. In: 16th international conference on information fusion, pp 1434–1441Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Roumeliotis S, Burdick J (2002) Stochastic cloning: a generalized framework for processing relative state measurements. In: IEEE international conference on robotics and automation (ICRA ’02), vol 2, pp 1788–1795Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Russel L (1965) Travel path sounder. In: Rotterdam mobility research conferenceGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Schwarze T, Lauer M (2015) Geometry estimation of urban street canyons using stereo vision from egocentric view. In: Informatics in control, automation and robotics. Lecture notes in electrical engineering, vol 325, pp 279–292. Springer International Publishing, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Schwarze T, Lauer M (2015) Robust ground plane tracking in cluttered environments from egocentric stereo vision. In: 2015 IEEE international conference on robotics and automation, pp 2442–2447Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Shoval S, Ulrich I, Borenstein J (2003) Navbelt and the guide-cane. IEEE Robot Autom Mag 10(1):9–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tobias Schwarze
    • 1
  • Martin Lauer
    • 1
    Email author
  • Manuel Schwaab
    • 2
  • Michailas Romanovas
    • 3
  • Sandra Böhm
    • 4
  • Thomas Jürgensohn
    • 4
  1. 1.Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)KarlsruheGermany
  2. 2.Hahn-Schickard (HSG)Villingen-SchwenningenGermany
  3. 3.German Aerospace Centre (DLR)NeustrelitzGermany
  4. 4.Human-Factors-Consult GmbH (HFC)BerlinGermany

Personalised recommendations