An IoT-based contribution to improve mobility of the visually impaired in Smart Cities

Abstract

The Internet of Things envisions that objects of everyday life will be equipped with sensors, microcontrollers, transceivers for digital communication and suitable protocol which communicates among them and with users, becoming an integral part of Internet. Due to the growing developments in digital technologies, Smart Cities have been equipped with different electronic devices based on IoT and several applications are being created for most diverse areas of knowledge making systems more efficient. However, Assistive technology is a field that is not enough explored in this scenario yet. In this work, an integrated framework with an IoT architecture customized for an electronic cane (electronic travel aid designed for the visually impaired) has been designed. The architecture is organized by a five-layer architecture: edge technology, gateway, Internet, middleware and application. This new feature brings the ability to connect to environment devices, receiving the coordinates of their geographic locations, alerting the user when it is close to anyone of these devices and sending those coordinates to a web application for smart monitoring. Preliminary studies and experimental tests with three blind users of the Cane show that this approach would contribute to get more spatial information from the environment improving mobility of visually impaired people.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank to the Associação Catarinense para Integração do Cego (ACIC) and the Brazilian Association for Assistance to Visually Impaired People (LARAMARA) for the partnership through the years. This research was supported by the Brazilian National Council of Scientific & Technological Development—CNPq, Grant Number 315338/2018-0, and Fundação de Amparo a Pesquisa no Estado de Santa Catarina -FAPESC, (Programa Sinapse da Inovação Operação SC III). We would also like to thank the reviewers for their careful and detailed comments which helped us improve the paper.

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Correspondence to Israel González-Carrasco.

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Rodrigo-Salazar, L., González-Carrasco, I. & Garcia-Ramirez, A.R. An IoT-based contribution to improve mobility of the visually impaired in Smart Cities. Computing (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00607-021-00947-5

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Keywords

  • Electronic cane
  • Internet of Things
  • IoT architecture
  • Mobility
  • Smart cities
  • Visual impairment
  • Assistive technology

Mathematics Subject Classification

  • 68M11
  • 68N01
  • 68M14