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(22 Jan 2016,
<noautolink> ---+!! Canes, Redux %TOC% This page discusses various designs for navigation aids, packaged as handles (or replacements) for the traditional "white cane". ---++ Introduction I like the idea of equipping a cane handle with assorted sensors (etc) and allowing it to communicate via [[%WP_Blu%][Bluetooth]]. As the user sweeps the cane back and forth, a wealth of data could be collected and sent to (say) a smartphone for local processing, integration with server data, etc. ---+++ Multi-modal Sensors I'd like to add a multi-modal sensor such as [[%AF%][Adafruit]]'s [[%AF_IMU%][10-DOF]] "inertial measurement unit". This provides barometric pressure/altitude, temperature, and three axes of [[%WP_Acc%][accelerometer]], [[%WP_Gyr%][gyroscopic]], and [[%WP_Mag%][magnetic]] (compass) data. This kind of information could be used to calculate the positions of the cane over time. ---+++ Ultrasonic Sensors High-quality ultrasonic sensors are also a basic requirement. The [[%MB%][MaxBotix]] [[%MB1360%][MB1360]] is a computer-friendly sensor which I'm using in the [[%RX%/][Robotic Explorer]]. It provides amplitude and distance information for multiple objects, with one centimeter precision up to its 10 meter range. This kind of information would work well for building up a model of the user's surroundings. However, I also like the kind of biomimetic (and human-friendly!) output produced by [[%TSE%][The Sonic Eye]], which allows the user to recognize acoustic signatures of various objects. Basically, this device: * emits a rising-frequency chirp * captures the reflections in stereo * slows down the captured reflections * plays them into the user's ears The MB1360 doesn't support this use case, but some compromise might be possible. For example, it might be possible to create a sensor which supports both modes. Alternatively, it might be possible to map a calculated 3D model into a synthetic stereo pair of "reflected" signals. ---++ Current Offerings ---+++ UltraCane <blockquote> The UltraCane is modeled on the traditional long white cane, but the difference is in the electronic handle, which works by emitting ultrasonic waves to locate obstacles in the user's vicinity. This includes objects at shoulder/head height, for example, wing mirrors on vans and Lorries, overhanging tree branches etc. It gives tactile feedback to the user through two vibrating buttons, which have been ergonomically positioned on the handle. The two buttons, when vibrating, indicate the direction of the obstacle; the frequency of the vibration lets the user know the proximity of the obstacle. This type of feedback stimulates a spatial 'mind map' in the brain, enabling the user to obtain information about the layout of their immediate environment and surroundings. Essentially, using the UltraCane offers a protective hazard 'envelope' around the user. -- [[%AC%][Aspire Consultancy]] [[%AC_UC%][UltraCane]] </blockquote> The UltraCane has a lot of promising characteristics, beginning with the fact that it is a shipping product. I like the fact that it has two sensors, allowing it to cover a vertical range of angles in front of the user. ---+++ VAVI [[%RK%][Roman Kozak]]'s "Byte-sized Bio" says: "Student by day. Entrepreneur by night. Designer of electronics and code." Basically, he's a young, energetic inventor with some great ideas. In particular, his [[%RK_VC%][VAVI]] (Virtual Aid for the Visually Impaired) is tantalizingly close to the kind of thing I'd like to see someone make. That said, I'm not convinced that eliminating the physical cane is a great idea for all users. The physical cane provides a great deal of tactile feedback which the virtual cane might not (or at least in the same format). Also, the "white cane" is very recognizable to the sighted public, so it alerts them to be careful in the presence of a blind person. All told, I'd like to see the unit equipped to handle an optional cane. ---++ Resources * [[%AF%][Adafruit]] [[%AF_IMU%][10-DOF]] - inertial measurement unit * [[%MB%][MaxBotix]] [[%MB1360%][MB1360]] - ultrasonic sensor * [[%RK%][Roman Kozak]] - VAVI: Virtual Aid for the Visually Impaired * [[%RK_SCB% ][Smart Cane for the Blind - GOOGLE SCIENCE FAIR]] (video) * [[%RK_VP% ][VAVI Presentation]] (slides) * [[%RK_VC% ]["Virtual Cane" for the Blind, Powered by Arduino and Android]] * [[%TSE%][The Sonic Eye]] - biomimetic ultrasonic sonar * [[%TSE_p1%][The Sonic Eye]] (poster) * [[%TSE_p2%][A device for human ultrasonic echolocation]] (paper) * [[%UC%][UltraCane]] - ultrasonic cane * [[%AC% ][Aspire Consultancy]] [[%AC_UC%][UltraCane]] * [[%UC_IEG% ][Instructional Exercises Guide]] (PDF) * [[%UC_UG% ][User Guide]] (PDF) <!-- * Set Utiles = Projects/Access/Utiles * Set RX = %Utiles%/RX * Set YT = https://www.youtube.com/watch?v * Set AC = http://www.aspire-consultancy.co.uk * Set AC_UC = %AC%/0_html/products/mobility/ultracane.htm * Set AF = https://www.adafruit.com * Set AF_IMU = %AF%/products/1604 * Set MB = http://www.maxbotix.com * Set MB1360 = %MB%/Ultrasonic_Sensors/MB1360.htm * Set RK = http://www.romanakozak.com * Set RK_VC = %RK%/virtual-cane * Set RK_VP = %RK%/presentation * Set RK_SCB = %YT%=2e3LuM3pP_4 * Set TSE = http://www.thesoniceye.com * Set TSE_p1 = http://www-cs.engr.ccny.cuny.edu/~zhu/MAP4VIP/Posters/Teng_etal_SonicEye_ICME_2013_poster.pdf * Set TSE_p2 = http://redwood.berkeley.edu/w/images/temp/a/a4/20140410062132!phpiwo0CH.pdf * Set UC = https://www.ultracane.com * Set UC_IEG = %UC%/download/UltraCane%20Intructional%20Exercises%20Guide%20V1%204.pdf * Set UC_UG = %UC%/download/UltraCane%20User%20Guide%20V1.6%20Jan2012.pdf * Set WP_Acc = %WP%/Accelerometer * Set WP_Blu = %WP%/Accelerometer * Set WP_Gyr = %WP%/Gyroscope * Set WP_Mag = %WP%/Magnetic --> %ZB%
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Topic revision: r92 - 22 Jan 2016,
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