Journal des troubles de la communication, des études sur les sourds et des aides auditives

Journal des troubles de la communication, des études sur les sourds et des aides auditives
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ISSN: 2375-4427

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Smart Cane Outdoor Navigation System for Visually Impaired Deaf-blind and Blind Persons

Babar Chaudary and Petri Pulli

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to build an outdoor navigation system to assist Visually Impaired (VI) persons’ navigation independently in urban areas, regardless of the person’s hearing status. An augmented cane, magnetic point or continuous metallic trails, pulsing magnet apparatuses, and the transmission of serialized vibration braille encoded guidance are the features of the proposed navigation system. Trails of magnetic points or metal and pulsing magnet apparatuses will be installed on the sidewalks in the city centres. People with VI are able to sense the magnet points or the metallic trail through their augmented cane. This system will assist them to walk independently. Pulsing magnet apparatuses will be installed at Point of Interests (POI) on sidewalks, such as turns and other decision points, to inform persons through serialized vibrational messages.

Methods: The research follows design science research framework with characteristics of prototype construction validation in Living Lab environment.Qualitative research methods (interviews and questionnaire) are employed to for user centered development process and to evaluate afterwards how well the designed artifacts meet the requirements it was set to resolve. Quality Function Deployment (QFD) method will be applied to convert users’ requirements into the features of the system.Usability experiments are defined to evaluate the usability of the proposed system in user tests. Pre-test qualitative interviews were performed in Pakistan with 15 blind or VI persons. All the subjects also participated into the system’s usability testing.

Results: The feedback of the test persons on about the proposed system after participating in the practical experiment of the system was positive. Based on the results, this kind of system would aid their navigation. The study also collected usability suggestions for further development of the system.

Conclusion: The proposed navigation system receives positive feedback from the potential users and the stakeholders. 13 out of the 15 blind and VI test persons were able to follow the test track successfully with the prototype and they found the proposed infrastructure applicable as navigation aid for the VI as a whole.

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