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Open AccessArticle

An Outdoor Navigation System for Blind Pedestrians Using GPS and Tactile-Foot Feedback

1
Faculty of Engineering, Universidad Panamericana, Aguascalientes 20290, Mexico
2
Physics Department, Université de Rouen, Mont-Saint-Aignan 76821, France
3
Faculty of Engineering and Sciences, Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez, Peñalolén, Santiago 7941169, Chile
4
Department of Innovation Engineering, Università del Salento, Lecce 73100, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Appl. Sci. 2018, 8(4), 578; https://doi.org/10.3390/app8040578
Received: 17 March 2018 / Revised: 2 April 2018 / Accepted: 4 April 2018 / Published: 7 April 2018
This paper presents a novel, wearable navigation system for visually impaired and blind pedestrians that combines a global positioning system (GPS) for user outdoor localization and tactile-foot stimulation for information presentation. Real-time GPS data provided by a smartphone are processed by dedicated navigation software to determine the directions to a destination. Navigational directions are then encoded as vibrations and conveyed to the user via a tactile display that inserts into the shoe. The experimental results showed that users were capable of recognizing with high accuracy the tactile feedback provided to their feet. The preliminary tests conducted in outdoor locations involved two blind users who were guided along 380–420 m predetermined pathways, while sharing the space with other pedestrians and facing typical urban obstacles. The subjects successfully reached the target destinations. The results suggest that the proposed system enhances independent, safe navigation of blind pedestrians and show the potential of tactile-foot stimulation in assistive devices. View Full-Text
Keywords: assistive technology; blind pedestrian; GPS localization; mobile computing; navigational system; tactile display; tactile-foot stimulation; wearable system assistive technology; blind pedestrian; GPS localization; mobile computing; navigational system; tactile display; tactile-foot stimulation; wearable system
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MDPI and ACS Style

Velázquez, R.; Pissaloux, E.; Rodrigo, P.; Carrasco, M.; Giannoccaro, N.I.; Lay-Ekuakille, A. An Outdoor Navigation System for Blind Pedestrians Using GPS and Tactile-Foot Feedback. Appl. Sci. 2018, 8, 578. https://doi.org/10.3390/app8040578

AMA Style

Velázquez R, Pissaloux E, Rodrigo P, Carrasco M, Giannoccaro NI, Lay-Ekuakille A. An Outdoor Navigation System for Blind Pedestrians Using GPS and Tactile-Foot Feedback. Applied Sciences. 2018; 8(4):578. https://doi.org/10.3390/app8040578

Chicago/Turabian Style

Velázquez, Ramiro; Pissaloux, Edwige; Rodrigo, Pedro; Carrasco, Miguel; Giannoccaro, Nicola I.; Lay-Ekuakille, Aimé. 2018. "An Outdoor Navigation System for Blind Pedestrians Using GPS and Tactile-Foot Feedback" Appl. Sci. 8, no. 4: 578. https://doi.org/10.3390/app8040578

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