Kinect Hack Becomes GPS for the Blind

Kinect Hack Becomes GPS for the Blind

Microsoft's Kinect has been turned into an indoor navigation system for those with impaired eyesight.

It's great that Kinect can be used as the eyes of a robot, but what about using it to help actual humans? A student project at Universit├Ąt Konstanz in Germany called NAVI (Navigational Aids for the Visually Impaired) attaches Kinect to a helmet and uses its abilities in tandem with other devices to help the visually impaired better navigate indoor environments.

Some of the current "technologies" that the blind use to get around are the cane method and the seeing-eye dog. They obviously work to some degree, but the cane method has a limited range while dogs must be trained and taken care of properly. NAVI doesn't need to be fed, but in its current state does require the user to carry around a computer in a special backpack (keep in mind, it's a work in progress).

On the positive side, NAVI basically works like a GPS for the visually impaired. Using depth information from the Kinect camera, a belt with three vibration motors on the left, center, and right lets the wearer get a general impression of a room or hallway. The addition of QR codes placed around an environment enables NAVI to give voice instructions as the codes are read by the camera.

The instructions will tell wearers to "Turn Right" or that there's a "Door Ahead." It's might not be the ultimate navigation tool just yet, but NAVI could take some stress off the minds of the visually impaired while in complicated indoor environments, as long as it doesn't freeze or bug out.

Source: YouTube, via SlashGear

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As long as NAVI doens't work like Navi...

"HEY! HEY! HEY! Turn right please... LISTEN! WATCH OUT! Take your next available left. HELLO?!"

No but seriously, AWESOME!

Celtic_Kerr:
As long as NAVI doens't work like Navi...

"HEY! HEY! HEY! Turn right please... LISTEN! WATCH OUT! Take your next available left. HELLO?!"

No but seriously, AWESOME!

Oh god. I didn't realize until now. That's what you get when nerds that grew up with videogames invent stuff I guess.

OT: Cool invention. Is there anything the Kinect can't do?

Wow. That's fairly impressive. It's a bit clunky, but for a prototype, it seems like it could be very helpful.

This is cool, but it looks incredibly stupid with the kinect on his head.

Jonluw:

Celtic_Kerr:
As long as NAVI doens't work like Navi...

"HEY! HEY! HEY! Turn right please... LISTEN! WATCH OUT! Take your next available left. HELLO?!"

No but seriously, AWESOME!

Oh god. I didn't realize until now. That's what you get when nerds that grew up with videogames invent stuff I guess.

OT: Cool invention. Is there anything the Kinect can't do?

Seems like it can't play games, we never hear about that :3

OT: Pretty cool, natal really is more useful as something else then motion controller atm though xD

Celtic_Kerr:
As long as NAVI doens't work like Navi...

"HEY! HEY! HEY! Turn right please... LISTEN! WATCH OUT! Take your next available left. HELLO?!"

No but seriously, AWESOME!

Hehe, that was the first thing that came to my mind when I read the name NAVI.
And, incidentially, it's quite fitting too.

Gotta love technology. Some people use it to help the blind, some people use it to make boob-touching simulators.

Glad to see it being used productively, anyway.

Ok this is just silly! I use motion control gaming devices for....yep, you guessed it, GAMING! I prefer the Move over the kinect too.

That is just WAY too much gear, cool idea though

Does Microsoft know they're practically sitting on a gold mine, here? Just look at all the cool stuff moders have been able to do with the thing, and it hasn't even been out for a year yet!

I know its not like Microsoft is really hurting for cash, but its pretty stupid to not capitalize on the potential of your hardware before someone else makes a knock off. I'm no Apple fan, but I bet that if they made the Kinect there'd already be twice as many games for it by now because Apple knows how to embrace community and indie creativity.

iDoom46:
Does Microsoft know they're practically sitting on a gold mine, here? Just look at all the cool stuff moders have been able to do with the thing, and it hasn't even been out for a year yet!

I know its not like Microsoft is really hurting for cash, but its pretty stupid to not capitalize on the potential of your hardware before someone else makes a knock off. I'm no Apple fan, but I bet that if they made the Kinect there'd already be twice as many games for it by now because Apple knows how to embrace community and indie creativity.

Well, as long as they leave Kinect as an open platform, MS isn't really getting in the way of the independents (as we've seen). They just made a very interesting device with the intention that people would be playing games with it, and it turns out that, with a little ingenuity, it can be adapted to a lot of useful applications as well.

The dumbest thing MS could do now is to stop making the Kinect because it didn't succeed in its original capacity.

WaaghPowa:
This is cool, but it looks incredibly stupid with the kinect on his head.

Yes, im sure the biggest concern of the blind his how they look.

As a prototype, showing what the technology is capable of, it's amazing. I'm sure that if it were to be mass produced they would find a way to streamline it so that most of the computer parts could fit in a pocket. As for the Kinect on his head, wasn't there virtual reality goggles made with the Kinect? Could they not make the classic dark glasses look actually functional? Just ideas.

Also, I thought of Navi the moment I saw the name. It's perfect!

I'm sure a code reading can be added making the NAVI read tags on objects and help the person know what it is, maybe even read things as code bars or recognize the object.

FogHornG36:

WaaghPowa:
This is cool, but it looks incredibly stupid with the kinect on his head.

Yes, im sure the biggest concern of the blind his how they look.

May not be the biggest, but you'd be surprised.

WaaghPowa:

FogHornG36:

WaaghPowa:
This is cool, but it looks incredibly stupid with the kinect on his head.

Yes, im sure the biggest concern of the blind his how they look.

May not be the biggest, but you'd be surprised.

I know, i can just see then at home looking in the mirror to check and see how they look... oh wait

FogHornG36:

WaaghPowa:

FogHornG36:

Yes, im sure the biggest concern of the blind his how they look.

May not be the biggest, but you'd be surprised.

I know, i can just see then at home looking in the mirror to check and see how they look... oh wait

Didn't you know that your other senses are heightened when you lose your sight? Maybe they can feel how the look!

If you're still taking this seriously after all this, I pity you.

WaaghPowa:

FogHornG36:

WaaghPowa:

May not be the biggest, but you'd be surprised.

I know, i can just see then at home looking in the mirror to check and see how they look... oh wait

Didn't you know that your other senses are heightened when you lose your sight? Maybe they can feel how the look!

If you're still taking this seriously after all this, I pity you.

There is an app for that

Strange to see Konstanz in the news here, but that is pretty cool.

see, stuff like this makes me feel like I'm living in the future.

I could see this potentially becoming quite big in the future. In the same way that it is not uncommon to find braille in many public places we may one day begin seeing those data tags popping up to enable the blind to navigate around buildings, this could very well be the beginning of the end for the seeing eye dog.

As far as gaming goes, kinect doesnt have anything for me. The more and more ways I see it being used though is making me really think about getting it now before something really awsome comes out for it so im prepared.

Seriously though microsoft has made something truely awsome, there is literally a million ways to use kinect. I cant belive that sony thought that some Wiimote rip off could compete with something like this.

For once moneysoft might have actually made something that has more advantages than drawbacks.

(I guess hell has frozen over)

 

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