Honors College Thesis


Design and Implementation of a Wearable Walking Navigation Assistance System for the Vision Impaired Public Deposited

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  • Few navigation-assistance technologies for vision impaired individuals are practical due to inhibiting factors such as cost, comfort, convenience, and overall usefulness of the assistance. This thesis will present the design and implementation of a navigation assistance system intended to address these concerns. The presented system improves on existing technologies by incorporating both a long-range (5-meter), front-facing ultrasonic distance sensor to give advance warning of approaching obstacles to the user and a short-range (1-meter) infrared laser distance sensors detecting objects in 360° to give the user an intuitive sense of his or her immediate surroundings. Detected objects are indicated using eight haptic feedback (vibration) motors spaced around a belt that vibrate in the direction of the object with intensity corresponding to object proximity. The resulting system was deemed intuitive, responsive, and comfortable by ten volunteer testers, each of which practiced with the system for fifteen minutes before performing several navigation tests. This system was created as an Electrical and Computer Engineering senior capstone project at Oregon State University over the course of the 2017-2018 school year.
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