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Nii Tete Mante, Gerard Medioni, Armand Tanguay, Thang Dinh, Furkan Sahin, Patrick Nasiatka, James Weiland; An Object Localization and Feedback System. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2013;54(15):2775.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
The goal of the project was to create a system which assists blind/low vision subjects with reaching and grasping for objects. This system is referred to as the 'Object Localization and Feedback System' (OLFS). The OLFS aims to enhance the autonomy of blind patients, by utilizing advanced algorithms and feedback mechanisms for daily tasks.
The OLFS utilized a 100° wide-angle camera (Tanguay, Sahin, Nasiatka), central processing unit (CPU) and bone conduction headphones. Computer Vision algorithms (Context Tracker, Medioni and Dinh) on the CPU parsed, and processed the camera input to determine object(s) position. Bone conduction headphones produced auditory feedback for the blind user based on object position. For example, if the object is positioned left to the camera's center of vision (COV), the computer would say “Left” to the test subject. Once the object was centralized within the users/cameras center of vision, test subjects were asked to reach out and touch the object. Two blind test subjects evaluated the device. Subjects were trained to use the system initially. Afterwards, autonomous testing was carried out. In both stages, subjects were asked to reach and grasp for an object with the aid of the OLF system. If test subjects were not able to grasp the object within 45 seconds, the trial was stopped and considered unsuccessful.
In ten object localization trials, patient RS-2 was able to grasp the desired object 6/10 times. The average time to grasp the object for the 6 successful trials was 15.43 seconds. Patient NM was able to grasp the object 10/10 times, and average the time to grasp the object was 13.95 seconds. Both patients were given a System Usability Scale (SUS) test. Patients RS-2 and NM gave the OLFS system a score of 87.5% and 67.5%, respectively. A 100% score symbolizes a perfectly usable system (as judged by the subject). Object tracking path data within the FOV was also recorded for each test and each test subject.
An initial system for assisting the blind in reaching and grasping for objects was successfully designed, implemented and tested. Test subjects were able to successfully grasp the object. Future improvements to the system will include enhanced robustness of vision algorithms, and new implementations of physical feedback. These two improvements will act to make the use of the system more intuitive for the patient.
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