Smartphone Assisted Navigation for the Sightless

Presenter: Alexander Greene

Research Category: Engineering and Technology
Student Type: Undergraduate
PI: Waleed Meleis

"The number one benefit of information technology is that it empowers people to do what they want to do. It lets people be creative. It lets people be productive… and so in a sense it is all about potential" – Steve Ballmer

The world we live in takes the sense of sight for granted, making everyday situations for one with sight seemingly insurmountable for a visually impaired individual. The advent of affordable and accessible smartphone technology has made navigating city streets easier than ever, but with the introduction of this technology comes the illumination of its inherent limitations.

Our solution, the "Help Me Get There" app for Android smartphones, is the first app of its kind to give crosswalk-specific information to users in real time as they navigate towards and across intersections.The app features a gesture-based user interface with audible user feedback, providing concise and immediate information to the user. The "Help Me Get There" app works in tandem with a Bluetooth® transceiver mounted in a harness that can be worn safely and comfortably by a seeing-eye helper dog.

Additionally, the rechargeable Bluetooth® transceiver can last for hours on a single charge, ensuring that users will not be left navigating alone. In a world where information is power, "Help Me Get There" gives users the tools and confidence in navigation they need to utilize their full potential.