It seems like the world has been made smaller by the modern internet and smartphone technologies. Yet, for the blind or visually impaired people, those technologies are opening up a whole new wide world.
As iPhones and other smartphones have become increasingly popular, researchers and developers have been working on a variety of new apps that can assist visually-impaired people. As a result, there are numerous applications and tools available for helping blind people. Those applications explain colors, detect motions, text or read for the blind. All of these applications are making the visually impaired more free than before.
However, when the blind or visually impaired people want to go somewhere, they still need assistance like guide dogs. Moreover, for the place where they have never been to, they can hardly think to go out alone, even with a guide dog. As a result they have been restricted from going somewhere freely.
eSound Viewf, a smartphone application designed and being developed by S. Korean undergrads will remove this obstacle for the blind..
The Korean undergraduate student team, eProject Mf from Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, proposed to make a smart phone application, which helps the visually impaired to navigate and find their way without delay by an instant and intuitive sound system.
The eSound Viewf will tell which way to go to get to a destination. This system uses the DGPS* navigation system in the smartphone and gyroscope sensor, bluethooth hands-free earphones which measure how accurately the user is making his/her way. It sends a beeping sound to the user to tell whether he/she is going the right way. The eSound Viewf application on smartphone and hands-free earphones exchange data, and communicate through Bluetooth technology,
*DGPS: an enhancement of Global Positioning System that provides improved location accuracy, from the 15-meter nominal GPS accuracy to about 10‡p in case of the best implementations.
The beeping sound becomes louder and faster as the user become farther away from the designated direction. The sound becomes lower and slower as the user moves closer to the designated way and eventually becomes silent when the user is on the right direction
gThe existing system or application tells where to go but canft tell whether he/she is on the right path or how much of a turn he/she should make,h said Donghwan Song, leader of eProject Mf. gThe eSound Viewf can tell the degree of turn he/she should make which existing systems canft do. It tells the degree of accuracy of the turn by the volume and frequency of the beeping sound.h
The team is planning to make this application available to the public by early next year. gThe commercialization of the system will be possible soon, since the application will be completed as soon as the wireless earphones equipped with a gyroscope sensor are developed,h said Song.
gfSound Viewf is the result of hard work and hope of our team,h said another member of the eProject Mf, Youn Jae Lee. gWe want everybody including blind people to walk and go anywhere they want to go.h
eProject Mf consists of ten UNIST students with the guidance of Prof. Namhun Kim from the School of Design and Human Engineering at UNIST. This proposal has been selected and awarded as one of the best proposals at ethe 2013 U(University)-startup contestf organized and supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea and Maeil Business Newspaper, Korea.
Other development by UNIST studentsgVoice of Sullivanh:
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