Mexican Team Builds Navigation Device for the Blind
Cecilia Rosen -
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August 2, 2014

Via is a device that provides independence for the blind and visually impaired during running or walking. The project was done as part of Inclusive Industrial Design studies at Hadassah College Jerusalem. (Tomer Halevi)

Mexican researchers have developed an artificial intelligence navigation system for partially or totally blind people that can sense its surroundings in three dimensions.

The prototype device is designed to allow users to freely move from one point to another avoiding both static and moving obstacles, and can learn to recognise colours and utility bills.

It looks like an adapted pair of glasses and has two sensors that locate objects around the user by bouncing ultrasonic waves off them. It also has two cameras and its batteries allow continuous use for about four hours.

The device is also equipped with a GPS (global positioning system) to help users navigate when outdoors.

Everything plugs into a tablet computer that processes image and sound data and uses it to calculate distances and build up a three-dimensional image of the user's surroundings. The tablet acts in a similar way to a car sat nav, providing navigation instructions and warnings through earphones.

The tablet uses artificial intelligence software to recognise navigation routes and signs.

Its lead developer is Eduardo Bayro, a researcher at the Center for Research and Advanced Studies in Mexico. ... Bayro says the device will be on the market early next year and will be commercialised by the a company called Qualtop.

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