A Contactless Walking Stick Using a Depth Sensor and Vibrators
Most of visually impaired people use a white walking stick. It extends a touchable region to an extent that may include some obstacles, and then helps them to walk. The wider the touchable region is, the better it seems to be. However, a too long stick is inconvenient in terms of portability. Also the user is liable to hit someone with it. Thus, the touchable region is limited to the periphery of the user, even if he uses a stick. We propose a contactless walking stick system that can be used in place of a white walking stick. Our system consists of a short stick, which has a color ball at its head and vibrators at its three sides, and a depth sensor mounted at a user’s forehead. The depth sensor continuously observes an area on the floor to which the user with the color ball, and once an obstacle appears in the area, the stick informs the existence of the obstacle through vibration in the side of it. In order to demonstrate the effectiveness of our system, we have conducted experiments. As a result, we have observed that the number of collision can be decreased by 85% in average, although consumed time increases by 45% in average.
KeywordsWhite walking stick Depth sensor Vibrator User interface Human computer interaction
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