Feasibility of Interactive Localization and Navigation of People with Visual Impairments

TitleFeasibility of Interactive Localization and Navigation of People with Visual Impairments
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsApostolopoulos, I, Fallah, N, Folmer, E, Bekris, KE
Conference Name11th IEEE Intelligent Autonomous Systems (IAS-10) Conference
Date PublishedAugust
Conference LocationOttawa, Canada

Indoor localization and navigation systems for individuals who are visually impaired (VI) typically rely upon expensive physical augmentation of the environment or expensive sensing equipment. This is the reason why only few such systems have been implemented. This work conducts a feasibility study of whether it is possible to localize and guide the navigation of people with VI using inexpensive sensors, such as compasses and pedometers. These sensors are already widely available in portable devices such as smart phones. The proposed approach takes advantage of active interaction between the autonomous intelligent system and the human user and employs the map of the world as a prior. Experiments are employed to study what kind of instructions are most succesful in assisting human users to reach their destination. These experiments also show that the application of Bayesian localization tools can also provide sufficient localization accuracy, while achieving real-time operation, despite the minimalistic, noisy nature of the available information and the limited computational resources available on smart phones. This line of research opens the door to many exciting new applications for methods from robotics in the area of human-centered intelligent systems.

Refereed DesignationRefereed