Audio navigation and orientation system for blind and visually impaired people
eingereicht von der Dreamwaves GmbH
We are developing a navigation and orientation solution to assist blind and visually impaired people in overcoming their mobility challenges. The key aspect of our solution, is that people can understand where they need to walk to, in the most natural and intuitive way. Much like being able find out where a ringing phone is located in a room (and walk up to it without even seeing it) we create virtual sounds embedded in real world locations - for instance in a street corner where the user might need to turn. With headphones, the users can hear the virtual sounds as if they were real existing objects. They can therefore walk towards this “sound object”. In this way we avoid the need for interpreting audio instructions and rely only on the intuitive ability of finding sound location.
To implement the product, we use augmented reality technology to place virtual waypoints embedded in the real world. The application relies solely on computer vision and inertial sensors from a smart phone, to create and navigate through the virtual objects. We do not require any beacons or physical sensors to be placed anywhere. To hear the waypoints in a realistic way we rely on binaural virtual audio – more commonly known as spatial audio or 3D audio. With binaural virtual audio a user with headphones can hear virtual sounds that appear to be coming from real locations. Moreover, the user experience of our app is completely adapted to our user's needs. We have designed our product together with the users since the beginning and will continue to collect input until our first final product is ready.