Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Computer vision for the blind


The white cane used by the blind as a travel aid may be universal, but it is not always adequate when it comes to pedestrian crossings. Although some crossings make a sound when it is safe to cross, many do not, and it is at these crossings that the blind need to know when the green man is showing. Adaptations of the white cane have been made, which use laser or ultrasonic waves to detect more distant obstacles, but they do not give information about the width of the road or colour of the traffic lights. Professor Shioyama and his colleagues at Kyoto Institute of Technology, Japan have developed a new method to assist the blind in such a situation. Published today in the Institute of Physics journal, Measurement Science and Technology, the device can measure the length of a crossing to within one step length and detect the colour of the traffic light.

Using images from a single camera, the device has a simple structure and does not need camera calibration, unlike sophisticated stereo camera systems, as the information is obtained using what is known as a “camera coordinate system”. This means that separate images do not need to be taken to calibrate the device. The length of a pedestrian crossing is measured by projective geometry, where the camera makes an image of the white lines painted on the road. Using the properties of geometric shapes as seen in the image, the actual distances are determined. Experiments carried out by the researchers showed that the crossing length could be measured to within an error of only 5 percent of the full length – which is less than one step.

The new device can also “see” the colour of the traffic light, even if the person is moving and the image changes. Together, the information gathered by this device will be enough to allow a blind person to know whether or not it is safe to cross a pedestrian crossing.

Prof Shioyama said:
“Travel aids that use laser and ultrasonic waves cannot obtain enough information about the user’s environment. This device is the first step in developing a system which allows the blind to cross the road safely and independently. We hope that the work in this article stimulates the development of such devices to assist the blind.”

Michelle Cain | alfa

More articles from Process Engineering:

nachricht Intelligent wheelchairs, predictive prostheses
20.12.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnik und Automatisierung IPA

nachricht Jelly with memory – predicting the leveling of com-mercial paints
15.12.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnik und Automatisierung IPA

All articles from Process Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>