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Current Medical Imaging

Editor-in-Chief

ISSN (Print): 1573-4056
ISSN (Online): 1875-6603

General Research Article

Ultrasonic Echolocation Device for Assisting the Visually Impaired

Author(s): Ben Mick, Nathan Reddmann, Rayyan Manwar and Kamran Avanaki*

Volume 16 , Issue 5 , 2020

Page: [601 - 610] Pages: 10

DOI: 10.2174/1573405615666190423141647

Price: $65

Abstract

Background: Echolocation is a technique whereby the location of objects is determined via reflected sound. Currently, some visually impaired individuals use a form of echolocation to locate objects and to orient themselves. However, this method takes years of practice to accurately utilize.

Aims: This paper presents the development of a sensory substitution device for visually impaired users, which gauged distances and the placement of objects.

Methods: Using ultrasonic technology, the device employed a method of echolocation to increase the user's independence and mobility. The main components of this device are an ultrasound transceiver and a miniaturized Arduino board. Through research and prototyping, this technology was integrated into a biomedical application in a watch form factor which provides feedback to the user regarding the measured distance by the ultrasonic transducer.

Results: The output of this process is a tactile feedback that varies in intensity proportional to the distance of the detected object. We tested the device in different scenarios including different distances from a different material. The difference between the device reading and the actual distance, from 0 to 400 cm was statistically insignificant.

Conclusion: It is believed this device will boost the confidence of the user in navigation.

Keywords: Echolocation, haptic feedback, ultrasonic transducer, visually impaired, blind, navigation.

Graphical Abstract
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