Visual and Infrared Sensor Data-Based Obstacle Detection for the Visually Impaired Using the Google Project Tango Tablet Development Kit and the Unity Engine

Rabia Jafri, Rodrigo Louzada Campos, Syed Abid Ali and Hamid R. Arabnia, IEEE Access, IEEE Computer Society, 2017 (accepted and to appear)

Abstract: A novel visual and infrared sensor data-based system to assist visually impaired users in detecting obstacles in their path while independently navigating indoors is presented. The system has been developed for the recently introduced Google Project Tango Tablet Development Kit equipped with a powerful graphics processor and several sensors which allow it to track its motion and orientation in 3D space in real-time. It exploits the inbuilt functionalities of the Unity engine in the Tango SDK to create a 3D reconstruction of the surrounding environment, then associates a Unity collider component with the user and utilizes it to determine his interaction with the reconstructed mesh in order to detect obstacles. The user is provided with audio feedback consisting of obstacle warnings. An extensive empirical evaluation of the obstacle detection component has yielded favorable results, thus, confirming the potential of this system for future development work.