Newly developed walking apparatus for identification of obstructions by visually impaired people

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21 Citations (Scopus)


In this work, two visual systems to help visually impaired people walk were developed: the first is a white cane with a non-contact detection system, and the second is a three-dimensional (3D) visual system. In place of the sense of sight, the sense of touch, either via vibration or of pins, can relay information on objects and obstacles around people. In a white cane non-contact detection system, two sets of ultrasonic sensors and vibrators, respectively, are employed to indicate the positions of both low- and high-level obstructions in front of the visually impaired person. When objects are detected by the sensor, the vibrator is strongly activated. In this system, the range of obstruction detection can be adjusted between 0.5 m and 5.5 m. By comparison, the 3D visual system uses two different components, an infrared camera sensor to detect obstructions and a tooling apparatus, incorporating a number of 1 mm diameter pins, by which their 3D shapes are derived. The pins are arranged in a 10×10 matrix and move longitudinally between the retracted and extended positions based on the depth data between the infrared sensor and the obstruction. Pins are elongated individually, so that each pin tip represents a specific area of the outer surface of the object. This tactile 3D image can provide effective object information.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1261-1264
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Mechanical Science and Technology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Infrared sensor
  • Ultrasonic sensor
  • Visually impaired person
  • Walking apparatus
  • White cane

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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