Partnering opportunity

Image-based vibration alerting technology for the blind

Summary

A Czech university research centre has developed a unique image-based vibration alerting technology for blind people. The technology is based on mediating the surrounding scene to the blind people. The scene is captured by a real-life camera video stream and is transformed into haptic information about perceived distance of obstacles. The centre is seeking manufacturers of medical devices interested in a license agreement, technical cooperation agreement or research cooperation agreement.

Partner sought

Partner sought: Manufacturers of medical devices are sought who also develop and sell these devices. Role of partner sought: The partner should have a good knowledge of the market and is expected to ensure all the necessities to introduce the technology to the market and sell the product. The technology will be licensed to the partner. Introducing the technology into production will require technology adjustments which will be covered by a technical cooperation agreement. The technology can be extended to the producer’s needs under a research cooperation agreement.

Description

The simplest and the most affordable tools that help the blind people with navigation are trained dogs and the white cane. Although these tools are very popular, they provide the blind with minimum information about the surrounding scene and obstacles above ground level and at larger distance. Also, there are assistive devices that help the blind people with orientation in the environment using voice instructions. However, the disadvantage of these devices is that the blind person must wear a headphone in his ear, which may disturb the person's hearing. To eliminate these shortcomings, the Czech university research centre has developed a new technology that uses camera video stream to capture surrounding stream and transfer the scene information into haptic response. Haptic response in the form of vibrations is delivered to the blind person in the upper head area. Intensity of the haptic response is included in the sensor, indicating distance to the surrounding objects. The technology prototype has been tested within the blind people community with positive feedback. People were able to recognize objects in the neighbourhood and navigate themselves through structured and cluttered environment. Also, they were able to avoid tree branches and other obstacles that can hardly be detected with the white cane. The technology has been prototyped using 3D print. The research centre offers the rights for the technology application by the manufacturer under a license agreement. This also includes verifying final properties of the technology and setting it up for production under a technical cooperation agreement. Subsequent cooperation during the technology expansion under a research cooperation agreement is also possible.

Advantages and innovations

• The technology is suitable for contactless detection of remote objects without hearing disturbance and without the need to use a white cane. • The user is able to determine the size and relative distance of the object • The device is easy to use – detection of remote objects is based on an in-house developed algorithm. Thus, the user receives only useful information • Frequency and amplitude can be set individually which means that the user is not disturbed by the vibrations • Low construction cost of the device

Development stage

Prototype available for demonstration

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)

Patents granted


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