Researchers from Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Schepens Eye Research Institute have developed a body worn device that can predict a chance of hitting an object.
Visually impaired people use smart walking sticks and body worn sensors that detect nearby objects and avoid hitting obstacles. The technology was more annoying than helpful, as it would beep anytime anything was near.
Rather than just being told that something is near, a truly smart proximity sensor should instead predict a chance of hitting an object.
The model system has a wide-angle front camera that tracks objects in proximity. It actually predicts potential collisions and beeps when there's a good chance the wearer might strike something.
The system was tested with tunnel vision and hemianopia volunteers walking through a 41 meter-long course with 46 objects throughout, each as tall as the participants. The study showed that folks wearing the device had a 37% reduction in chances of collisions with objects compared to when not using a walking aide.