usability, design, interaction design, information, web usability, user interface design, usability engineering,user testing, usability inspection, heuristic evaluation, webdesign, UI, GUI, HCI, user-centered design,human-computer interaction, mensch computer interaktion,universität konstanz, usability test, benutzerfreundlichkeit, mensch-maschine-interaktion, mensch-computer-interaktion, human-computer-interaction, usable, website usability, ergonomie, ergonomisch, psychologie, gestalt principles, scenario, information visualization,informationsvisualisierung, User Interface Evaluation, Usability testing, Human Factors, Erogonomic, Ergonomics, User Interfaces, User Interface, Interfaces, informations visualisierung, visual information seeking system, visual search interface, Mensch & Computer 2012Harald Reiterer

NAVI – Navigational Aids for the Visually Impaired – A student project in the course Blended Interaction

In our course “Blended Interaction”, Master’s students Michael Zöllner and Stephan Huber have been working on a very different approach to use the Microsoft Kinect. Since we liked their project so much and their helmet-mounted Kinect is such an eye-catcher (check out the video! J), we asked them to write about it for our blog. Here is what they wrote:

NAVI (Navigational Aids for the Visually Impaired) is a student project aiming at improving indoor navigation for visually impaired by leveraging the Microsoft Kinect camera, a vibrotactile waistbelt and markers from the AR-Toolkit.While the “white cane” is a good tool to improve navigation for visually impaired, it has certain drawbacks such as a small radius or that it just detects objects that are on the ground (during typical use).We wanted to augment the visually impaired person’s impression of a room or building by providing vibro-tactile feedback that reproduces the room’s layout.

The vibrotactile waistbelt

The vibrotactile waistbelt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For this, depth information from the Kinect is mapped by our software onto three pairs of Arduino LilyPad vibration motors located at the left, center and right of the waist. These pairs of vibration motors are hot glued into a fabric waist belt and connected to an Arduino 2009 board. To increase the impact of the vibration motor they were put into the cap of a plastic bottle. The Arduino in the waist belt is connected via usb to a laptop that was mounted onto a special backpack-construction, which has holes for cables and fan.

The special backpack-construction to hold the laptop

The special backpack-construction to hold the laptop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To support point-to-point navigation usually a seeing-eye dog is used. This dog however must be trained for certain routes, costs a lot of money and gets tired soon. In certain research projects GPS is used to provide this point-to-point navigation, however GPS is not applicable for indoor scenarios.

The kinect camera mounted on a socket built with Sugru (http://sugru.com) and fixed with duct tape

The kinect camera mounted on a socket built with Sugru (http://sugru.com) and fixed with duct tape

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We wanted to utilize the rgb camera of the Kinect, so we put several markers of the AR-Toolkit on the walls and doors of our building thereby modeling a certain route from one room to another. The markers are tracked continuously all along the way and our software provides synthesized auditory navigation instructions for the person. These navigation instructions vary based on the distance of the person to the marker (which we get from Kinect’s depth camera). So for example, if you walk towards a door the output will be “Door ahead in 3”, “2”, “1”, “pull the door” where each part of the information depends on the distance to the marker on the door.

The battery pack to power our mobile kinect camera

The battery pack to power our mobile kinect camera

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The software is written with C#/.NET. We used the MangedOpenNI (https://github.com/kobush/ManagedOpenNI) wrapper for the Kinect and the managed wrapper of the ARToolkitPlus (http://code.google.com/p/comp134artd) for marker tracking. Voice synthesis is done using Microsoft’s Speech API (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/speech/default). All input streams are glued together using Reactive Extensions for .NET (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/devlabs/ee794896).

The debug view of the software helped us tune the parameters for depth processing

The debug view of the software helped us tune the parameters for depth processing

12 Comments

  1. Jonathan
    Posted March 16, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    Nice device!
    I think there’s a mistake in the section about the motors though:
    “three pairs of Arduino LilyPad vibration motors”
    These are not “Arduino LilyPad”, just LilyPad devices; people think you’ve gone crazy and used 4-7 Arduinos to control the motors….

    Btw, you’re on hackaday.com, congrats!

  2. Paolo
    Posted March 17, 2011 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    How is the kinect responding to a 10xAA=15 Volts power supply?
    The kinect has a nominal 12 V voltage supply.
    It should have been down regulated, what happens when the batteries are <12V?

  3. Michael Zöllner
    Posted March 17, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    @Jonathan
    You’re right. The text might be a bit misleading, however the picture and video points it out very well: We have three pairs of LilyPad vibration motors connected to one single Arduino Board.

    @Paolo
    We use ten 1.2V accumulators from Varta which gives a total of 12V (in theory). The real voltage of the accumulators is de facto slightly higher, especially when they are fully charged, so sometimes the battery pack gives approximately 13-14V.
    We didn’t monitor the voltage of the battery pack all the time, so we have no answer as to what happens when it drops below 12V. We just changed batteries, when the Kinect didn’t work anymore…

  4. Posted March 17, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    Hallo Leute, wir haben schon bei Youtube was dazu geschrieben. Hier aber vielleicht nochmal kurz. Die Idee und die Umsetzung sind gerade für den gedachten Einsatzzweck großartig! Wir haben auf unserer Seite http://www.live4d.de eine große Sammlung an Kinect Hacks und würden uns deshalb freuen, wenn wir von Euch in der Zukunft weitere Infos darüber erhalten würden. Aktuell haben wir es von Engadget.com erfahren.

  5. Posted March 18, 2011 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    Bengala inteligente

    Para deficientes visuais.
    Veja fotos do equipamento no blog
    Israel-tagliari.blogspot.com

    Como montar é muito simples e de baixo custo +- R$ 100,00 ou u$70,00

    Será a tecnologia para facilitar a vida destas pessoas com deficiência visual, vai consistir de uma bengala inteligente ou também poderá ser um sistema parecido com um celular , que será fixo na cintura ou na cinta da pessoa.
    Terá um olho com uma câmera fotográfica para poder filma e identificar o que se encontra a sua volta, em um raio de 2 m2, para dar tempo ao deficiente de receber a mensagem, que a filmadora filmara e transmitira através de um som sonoro ou viva voz com menor ou maior intensidade indicando que esta mais próximo ou mais afastado do obstáculo a sua volta .
    Por ex: Obstáculos diversos uma construção, um barraco, escada, veiculo, poste etc. também poderá uma voz indicar dizendo o tipo de objeto que esta a sua frente ou sua volta.num raio de 2 metros +-.
    Indicando para que lado seguir por voz ou por sons mais ou menos rápido. ou seqüencial.
    Será equipada com uma placa codificada com sensor de distancia ou mesmo utilizada nos veículos importados para ser mais fácil.
    Um sensor de estacionamento de veículos que é utilizado para facilitar o estacionamento do veiculo para não bater.
    Este sensor detecta dispara um alarme sonoro e determina a distancia que esta o obstáculo.
    Que pode ser equipada com um micro processador. Ou um chip , ou placa ou mesmo um programa soft.
    A montagem desta placa pode ser tanto na bengala ou em um equipamento tipo de um celular ou outra forma a critério da pesquisa dos inventores projetista.
    E também poderá ser usado como um rastreador de pessoas com deficiências de memória e que se perde ou se esquece do endereço através de um GPS. Com mapa e viva voz.
    Que indica o local que esta e pode ser programado para onde que se locomover. E também poderá ser equipado junto ao celular, este equipamento para deficientes.
    Indicando onde moram com todas as informações que estarão gravadas no chip do equipamento da pessoa, que esta usando o identificador e com as informações dos familiares.

    Seqüência do equipamento o que deve ser projetado para fazer:
    1* terá que fazer a filmagem
    2*Informar ao deficiente o que esta a sua frente, e a distancia.

    3*Como deve fazer para desviar, para a direita ou esquerda e a distância, em centímetros ou metros.
    4* Informação deve ser por viva voz ou sonora.
    5* Mapa de localização através de GPS por satélite que possa ser programado para onde quer ir, e poder montar o caminho programando o trajeto.
    Ou ser informado pelo próprio programa.
    6* Pode também ser um equipamento somente com um sensor de estacionamento de veículos.
    7* que somente vai dar um sinal sonoro quando estiver próximo de um obstáculo, que pode ser montado com um sensor com o visor que vai detectar o perigo e indicar a proximidade do objeto.
    8* poderá ser montado dentro de uma bolsa pequena que poderá ser fixada na cintura do deficiente, que é ligada a uma ou mais baterias ou pilhas.
    E que tenha a volt programada equivalente a 9 ampares, equivalente a uma bateria comum de controle de TV. Para ter menos peso e quantidade de baterias.
    É somente necessário direcionar o visor do sensor para ser o olho do deficiente.
    9* Custo do sensor no Paraguai R$ 50,00 +- no Brasil você vai pagar o lucro de venda do comerciante que pode variar de preço.
    Ou compre pela internet.
    Se quiser pode ser encaixado em uma bengala este sensor, e a bateria pode ser fixada na cinta, para diminuir o volume.
    10* Como montar é só necessário compra o sensor que já vem completo e adaptar um adaptador para a bateria ou pilhas, por que para os veículos é ligado a bateria que é de 12 v.
    Mas com uma bateria de 9 v também funciona o melhor e mudar para 9 v ou colocar duas de 9 v vai durar mais tempo de preferência recarregável que pode ser reutilizada varias vezes.
    O adaptador de baterias pode ser comprado em lojas de produtos eletrônicos ou retirado de algum brinquedo que seja com pilhas ou baterias. É somente montar em uma bolsa ou um recipiente que fique preso todo o equipamento do sensor, adaptador e a bateria, pronto é só testar o equipamento se movimentado para frente e para os lados ou para traz.com o visor sempre virado para o local que vai andar.
    Atenção fabricantes a dica esta dada é somente fabricar e colocar no mercado utilizando este nicho de mercado e ficar milionário mas sem muita ambição no valor de venda, ganhe na quantidade produzida faça o que os Chineses fazem. Pense no seu semelhante deficiente que não tem a visão que você tem.

    E também para ser utilizado em centenas de outras atividades diversas.
    Professor Pardal curitiba, Paraná Brasil
    e-mail israel.tagliari@yahoo.com.br

  6. DANIEL KUO
    Posted March 20, 2011 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Hello nice to meet you , i am Taiwan student i study in Southern Taiwan University(STUT)
    , i watch your video NAVI – Navigational Aids for the Visually Impaired – A student project
    in the course Blended Interaction] on youtube that is so interesting for me , because i have
    been learn Augmented Reality too , and my question is how you use ARToolkit access in to Kinect?
    sorry let you, wast your time to anwser my qusetion , Because in my contry Taiwan augmented reality
    is not very popular now ,so i didn’t have any book cangive me example or consult it so hope you can
    help me thank you very much .

    [p.s] i am very to have the honor to looking the video from your study”

  7. Posted March 25, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    I’m doing a presentation on RX at MIX this year and would love to include a picture of your project in the slide deck as creative uses of the framework. Please contact me to let me know if you are willing for me to use an image and link to the project.

  8. neo
    Posted May 20, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    could u give a brief description about external power supply to kinect…

    Thnx in advance

  9. Mart!n
    Posted July 4, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    hallo,
    ich habe gerade von eurem projekt auf http://www.spiegel.de/netzwelt/gadgets/0,1518,769765-5,00.html gelesen und es wird geschrieben, das system ist noch nicht ganz ausgereift weil immer ein laptop mitgenommen werden muß – klar, ist groß und umständlich

    warscheinlich habt ihr selber schon daran gedacht – aber wie wäre es, den laptop mit einem smartphone bzw. mit einem netbook zu ersetzen? oder ist das ganz abwegig?

  10. Digi
    Posted April 18, 2012 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    How can i get your code?

  11. Posted April 18, 2012 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    http://navi.codeplex.com/

  12. Digi
    Posted April 18, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    Is there anyway that i can get your code? or contact the personwho made thisby mail?

99 Trackbacks

  1. [...] Human-Computer Interaction | Mensch-Computer Interaktion | Usability Engineering | Konstanz. [...]

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  13. By Kinect Hack Helps the Blind Navigate | Kinectola on March 17, 2011 at 9:47 pm

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  14. [...] NAVI – Navigational Aids for the Visually Impaired – A student project in the course Blended Int… (University of Konstanz) [...]

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  16. [...] Fuente: Human Computer Integration University of Konstanz Blog [...]

  17. [...] Para más información: NAVI – Navigational Aids for the Visually Impaired – A student project in the course Blended Int… [...]

  18. By ¿Son los hacks del Kinect buenas ideas? on March 17, 2011 at 11:54 pm

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  20. [...] Group from the university of Konstanz has created Navigational Aids for the Visually Impaired (or NAVI), an application that uses Kinect’s perception of depth to guide visually impaired people in [...]

  21. [...]  |  University of Konstanz  | Email [...]

  22. [...] Group from the university of Konstanz has created Navigational Aids for the Visually Impaired (or NAVI), an application that uses Kinect’s perception of depth to guide visually impaired people in [...]

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  28. By Kinect as a visually impaired radar | New Tech on March 18, 2011 at 4:50 am

    [...] Group from the university of Konstanz has created Navigational Aids for the Visually Impaired (or NAVI), an application that uses Kinect’s perception of depth to guide visually impaired people in [...]

  29. [...] NAVI – Navigational Aids for the Visually Impaired – A student project in the course Blended Int… (University of [...]

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  36. [...] for helping the blind, two students in Germany have rigged up a Kinect to provide audible directions to a sight-impaired user. It’s a very inelegant [...]

  37. [...]  |  University of Konstanz  | Email [...]

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  41. [...] for helping the blind, two students in Germany have rigged up a Kinect to provide audible directions to a sight-impaired user. It’s a very inelegant [...]

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  50. [...] Más información (en inglés y alemán) en el Blog de la Universidad. [...]

  51. [...] and Stephan Huber. Hopefully it will be improved and hit the market in a not-so-far future. More info. If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to the RSS feed! You can also follow me on [...]

  52. [...]  |  University of Konstanz  | Email [...]

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  55. [...] página oficial del proyecto [...]

  56. [...] Click here to view a video demonstrating the technology and a more detailed explanation of how the device works. Comments (0) Trackbacks Print this post   addthis_pub = 'y2kesq'; addthis_options = 'email, favorites, linkedin, twitter, digg, delicious, google, facebook, stumbleupon, reddit, more';   Filed in New Technologies, Patient Education, Video Tagged Kinect, NAVI You might also enjoy…Smartphone’s Blinput Allows Visually Impaired to Attain Greater Independence [...]

  57. [...] by Michael Zöllner and Stephan Huber from the University of Konstanz, NAVI (or Navigational Aids for the Visually Impaired) allows the blind to easily navigate an environment [...]

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  63. [...] en Engadget.com Vía SlashGear Original uni-konstanz.de) SHARETHIS.addEntry({ title: "Kinect se desvela como un elemento interesantísimo como ayuda a [...]

  64. [...] компонентом экспериментальной системы NAVI (Navigational Aids for the Visually Impaired) является беспроводной [...]

  65. [...] en un ordenador público que vaya usando la gente cuando te encuentre por la calle.— Dani Burón [Konstanz Uni] [...]

  66. By Kinect se convierte en perro lazarillo on March 21, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    [...] Muy buena idea que esperemos hagan más portátil y manejable para que pueda usarse con comodidad y sin perder la dignidad,  o al menos que no te convierta en un ordenador público que vaya usando la gente cuando te encuentre por la calle.— Dani Burón [Konstanz Uni] [...]

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  69. By Kinect hacked to guide the blind | Kinectola on March 22, 2011 at 5:23 am

    [...] all part of the NAVI project (Navigational Aids for the Visually [...]

  70. By Kinect se convierte en perro lazarillo « BN on March 22, 2011 at 6:38 am

    [...] Muy buena idea que esperemos hagan más portátil y manejable para que pueda usarse con comodidad y sin perder la dignidad,  o al menos que no te convierta en un ordenador público que vaya usando la gente cuando te encuentre por la calle.— Dani Burón [Konstanz Uni] [...]

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  73. [...] Human-Computer Interaction – Konstanz University | [...]

  74. [...] the visually impaired get around without bumping into things. Now, through their project called NAVI (Navigation Aids for the Visually Impaired), students at Germany’s Universität Konstanz [...]

  75. [...] project put together by two Masters students at the University of Konstanz in Germany, the NAVI or Navigation Aids for the Visually Impaired system uses the Kinect to detect objects in the world, alerting the wearer to their [...]

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  77. By Kinect ayuda para ciegos. « Beat Geek on March 24, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    [...] más información puedes visitar: NAVI. El sitio está en ingles, y es por parte de la [...]

  78. [...] reseachers with the NAVI project at the University of Konstanz have taken the Microsoft Kinect, which provides a rich 3 dimensional visual view of the world to a [...]

  79. [...] 0. http://hci.uni-konstanz.de/blog/2011/03/15/navi/?lang=en 1. http://www.gizmag.com/kinect-as-a-set-of-eyes/18179/ [...]

  80. [...] SEEING EYE HELMET: Engineers from the University of Konstanz in Germany mounted a Kinect camera on a helmet, added a Bluetooth headset, Arduino LilyPad vibration motors on a special belt and a backpack computer. The gear could help a visually impaired user navigate to a specific destination indoors, using feedback to the user through the belt and headset. The Kinect can detect distance to markers placed in the environment. The helmet plus Kinect may not be a hit look, but with refinement this could be a very useful approach. [...]

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  82. [...] Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments [...]

  83. By Sound and other Senses | augmented.org on April 1, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    [...] polygons we throw around, we have a great work from students at the German University of Konstanz. Their system is called NAVI: Navigational Aids for the Visually Impaired. NAVI works something like this. The infrared camera [...]

  84. [...] Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments [...]

  85. [...] Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments [...]

  86. [...] Navigation for People with Visual Impairment [...]

  87. By Anonymous on April 14, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    Kinect navigiert Blinde wie ein NAVI…

    Menschliche Computer Interaktion könnte der nächste große Schritt sein, dank der Microsoft Bewegungssteuerung Kinect und diversen speziellen Hacks dafür. Fleißige Studenten an der Konstanz Universität haben ein System gebaut, dass Blinden den Weg durch…

  88. [...] polygons we throw around, we have a great work from students at the German University of Konstanz. Their system is called NAVI: Navigational Aids for the Visually [...]

  89. By dummiesngeeks.com » Top 5 Kinect Hacks on April 18, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    [...] surroundings and give audio navigation commands to guide him or her through the area [source: Zöllner and Huber]. It’s very similar to the way a GPS system in your car directs you to turn left or right at [...]

  90. [...] Erlanger Studentenprojekt beschäftigt sich damit, wie man Kinect zur Indoor-Navigation für Blinde einsetzen kann. Ich muss hier einschränken: kaum [...]

  91. [...] http://www.hci.uni-konstanz.de [...]

  92. [...] http://www.hci.uni-konstanz.de [...]

  93. By Kinect for Windows to launch in February | iGames on January 10, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    [...] fascinating projects. Notable examples include a navigational device for the visually impaired and a system for providing surgeons with sensory [...]

  94. [...] fans to tinker with the hardware and come up with fascinating projects. Notable examples include a navigational device for the visually impaired and a system for providing surgeons with sensory feedback during remote [...]

  95. [...] fans to tinker with the hardware and come up with fascinating projects. Notable examples include a navigational device for the visually impaired and a system for providing surgeons with sensory feedback during remote [...]

  96. By Navigational Aids for the Visually Impaired | NinoNT on February 12, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    [...] learn more about the project from the University of Konstanz click on the following link.  Human-Computer Interaction. University of Konstanz Computer & Information Science Share [...]

  97. [...] Update: Thanks to a heads up from a commenter, the idea is actually realized with a software project at the University of Konstanz. [...]

  98. [...] dieser Film diese Idee zwar schön aufbereitet und verpackt, aber nicht umsetzt, haben Studenten der Uni Konstanz ein solches System schon 2011 umgesetzt und vorgestellt (und die Macher des „Microsoft Vision“-Werbevideos inspiriert?): NAVI – Navigational Aids [...]

  99. [...] fans to tinker with the hardware and come up with fascinating projects. Notable examples include a navigational device for the visually impaired and a system for providing surgeons with sensory feedback during remote [...]

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