Computer Vision for the Visually Impaired
Visual Accessibility Through Computer VisionThis is Joint work with Karl Hellstern, Zijun Wei, Yaser Sheikh, and Takeo Kanade.
I am working on algorithms to improve the BrainPort vision device which is manufactured by Wicab. With this device blind users can perceive the approximate size, shape and location of objects in their surrounding. Visual information is gathered by a camera that is mounted on a pair of sunglasses. It is then translated into electric pulses that are translated to the surface of the tongue. We have designed a system that allows users of the BrainPort device to recognize faces. The system detects faces in the image captured by the camera, compares them with a "prototypical" or "average" face, and produces a difference map which allows the user to literally feel what is unique about the face of the person in front of it. A prototype of our system was depicted in an episode of the BBC show Frontline Medicine.
We have also created an Android app that can detect various signs (such as restroom, EXIT, etc') and guide the visually impaired user to the location of the sign using vibrating signals.