Not just limiting itself to corporate, artistic or gaming use, the Kinect community has made the depth camera device an instrumental tool in helping the visually impaired. Through the Kinect’s technology, people who have problems with eyesight can find comfort in moving around their house or even around cities. This video release by the HCI Group from the University of Konstanz displays the NAVI – Navigational Aid for the Visual Impaired in action. With a Kinect mounted in a safety hat, a backpack that houses a laptop and several key points for the Kinect’s detection, the visually impaired are helped through voice commands. They are directed towards the direction they desire to go, warned if obstacles are present and guided to make navigation easier. The Kinect is gaining momentum in possessing practical and helpful applications for different groups.

Here is a description of the NAVI by the developers:

“We wanted to augment the visually impaired person’s impression of a room or building by providing vibro-tactile feedback that reproduces the room’s layout.
For this, depth information from the Kinect is mapped by our software onto three pairs of Arduino LilyPad vibration motors located at the left, center and right of the waist. These pairs of vibration motors are hot glued into a fabric waist belt and connected to an Arduino 2009 board.

We wanted to utilize the rgb camera of the Kinect, so we put several markers of the AR-Toolkit on the walls and doors of our building thereby modeling a certain route from one room to another. The markers are tracked continuously all along the way and our software provides synthesized auditory navigation instructions for the person. These navigation instructions vary based on the distance of the person to the marker (which we get from Kinect’s depth camera).”

For more information about the NAVI, visit theĀ developers’ website.

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