Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Navigation System for People with a Sight Impairment

Digitization Can Improve the Quality of Life for People with Impairments / TERRAIN BMBF Project Develops New Assistance System for Blind and Partially Sighted People
Das Projekt TERRAIN will ein tragbares, elektronisches Assistenzsystem entwickeln und erproben, das den Bewegungsspielraum Sehgeschädigter deutlich erweitert. (Bild: KIT)

For blind and partially sighted people, it is difficult – and sometimes even risky – to move independently in unknown environments, above all in urban and busy areas. The feeling of insecurity and disorientation and the fear of accidents can considerably restrict the mobility and social integration of these individuals. The TERRAIN joint project is aimed at developing and testing a portable, electronic assistance system that will greatly extend their range of motion. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research has decided to fund this project with EUR 1.7 million.

The system relies on mobile devices such as smartphones or smart watches. The usability of these devices for people having a sight impairment is steadily improving, they are more widely accepted by these persons now, and they provide important technologies such as GPS or voice input and output. “We want to leverage this potential to supplement the traditional aids such as the long cane,” project coordinator Sebastian Ritterbusch from iXpoint Informationssysteme GmbH explains. It is true that the so-called probing cane can only detect obstacles at floor level. This means that safe movements without the help of another person are only possible in familiar rooms and on previously learned routes.

Further informationen in the Press Release 107/2016.

sur, 20.07.2016