[tabi] Fwd: Wearable Device GIST Helps the Blind 'See' What's Around Them

  • From: K4NKZ Jim <k4nkz@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: tabi <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 20 Oct 2013 17:20:04 -0400

Wearable computers  have generated a lot of excitement and buzz based almost
exclusively on their novelty. Sure it's easier to  wear a video camera on
your face  than to hold it up, but shouldn't wearable devices perform useful
functions that smartphones can't?

Meet GIST, a gesture-controlled wearable device that  helps the visually
impaired  navigate the world around them.
University of Nevada computer scientists Vinitha Khambadkar and Eelke Folmer
recently debuted GIST at a technology  conference.

The user wears GIST, or Gestural Interface for Remote Spatial Perception,
around his or her neck. Using different gesture commands, the user can
prompt the device to provide information on whether there's a person nearby,
the predominant color of an object or its distance from the user. The device
can also measure the depth of a particular area, indicated with the hand.

Users need to have some sight to interact with GIST. But few people are
completely blind; most can perceive at least vague shapes and light sources.

Based on  Microsoft's Kinect  sensor, the device detects the hand signal and
reads the pixels surrounding the user's outstretched hand to provide an
answer. It answers the queries out loud.

GIST turns "the user's hands into versatile sensing rods," the authors wrote
in the paper introducing the device. In other words, it allows visually
impaired users to do nearly everything they could with a white cane while
leaving their hands free for other things.

In a video, Khambadkar and Folmer demonstrate a few use cases. In one, a
woman uses the "color" command to locate a water bottle. She then uses the
object distance command to find it with her hand and pick it up.

GIST has been tested on eight blind users. With additional testing,
Khambadkar and Folmer plan to incorporate object and facial recognition so
the user can ask the device to scan for a particular object or to tell them
who is in front of them.



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