Guiding the visually impaired with augmented reality audio
The WAM project team has developed a mobile augmented reality audio application to help guide the visually impaired when using public transport. Real-life experiments in Grenoble focusing on improving the independence of disabled people have been conducted.
The application developed by the WAM project team is intended to help the visually-impaired move around both inside and outside buildings and to facilitate public transport access by using web and mobile phone technologies.
Follow the strip on the ground in a straight line for 45 metres
Warning: tram line on your right
In 5 metres, veer right and follow the strip on the ground
The application for mobiles puts the user in an augmented reality sound environment that combines voice announcements with a spatial range and guiding by 3D audio pointer. It also makes it easier to identify one’s location with localised bearings in the environment (informative POIs):
Quick fast food restaurant
Grenoble railway station
In addition, the system uses 3G connections to access public transport web services and thus provides real-time audio information on connecting service possibilities at each stop along with estimated wait times.
The application does not use GPS, instead employing a system for locating the person based on a smartphone inertial system that integrates the route taken. The system can be adapted to the walking pace of each individual thanks to dynamic calibration, and can readjust its position throughout the route. The system is accurate in terms of the number of steps taken, irrespective of the distance travelled, provided that the environment is structured (pavements, pedestrian crossings, gangways and corridors, etc.).
Preliminary experiments were conducted during the third “Accessibility Month” event hosted by the city of Grenoble. This event is intended to make the general public more aware of disability issues through various activities organised throughout October 2011: theme-based city walks, exhibitions, events, conferences and round table sessions are all part of the program.
The demonstration held at the SNCF railway station brought an end to the No. 7 route using public transport and which focused on the theme of “using hi-tech to find one’s way”.
Autonomie project: high-tech helps handicapped people
The application was developed as part of the Autonomy project, approved by the Minalogic competitiveness cluster and co-financed by the European Union. The project brings together researchers (Inria, UJF), small businesses (Raisonance, Ivès), major groups (STMicroelectronics, STEricsson) and local operators (SEMITAG, Grenoble Alpes Métro).