Autonomie Project

Objectives

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Objectives of Autonomie project

The principle objective of the Autonomie project is to facilitate both the interior and exterior navigation of sight impaired pedestrians. The project aims to provide a prototype tool that will complement the aptitudes of the sight impaired person, but which in no way is a substitute for vision. This project was undertaken in the context of the French LOI du 11 FEVRIER 2005 which specifies that all persons must be able to move from place to place in town, and be able to do so without a break in the continuity of the chain of movement.

Precise location of the sight Impaired person

to know where they are located, to permit them to obtain information about their environment, to guide them precisely and to furnish human assistance remotely. Responding to this need is a true challenge, a challenge that the Autonomie project has taken upon itself. We have, for example worked on techniques for establishing precise, pertinent maps of the interior and exterior of buildings. We have worked on the classification of Points of Interest (POI) - points whose interest may be purely informational, of interest for orientation or for security. For example, we want to be able to indicate to a sight impaired person walking in a building that they are passing office A212, and that they must take the next hallway to the left where, in 5 meters, they will be able to take the stairs going down.

Locating of a personnes with or without a GPS signal

In addition to an augmemented reality cartography of the audio landscape, we are developing individual localization techiniques based on the inertial center that is available on smart phones (gyroscope, accelerometer, magnetometer). This type of system is known under the name of Pedestrian DeadReconning (PDR). This system based on physiological models of walking, will be synchronized with supplementary localization information such as GPS, BlueTooth points or a Real Time Localization System (RTLS), when these are accessible.

Environment information

We intend to provide the visually impaired person the possibility to have access to the audio "landscape" around them... that is to say to give them access to the environmental sounds at short, medium and long distances. For example, we imagine being able to give the person the possibility seek information about the environment by pointing the tool in one or another direction. The tool could then return the information that, in 3 meters a stairway is descending, in 50 meters there is a cross walk and at 300 meters the Eiffel tower.

Remote assistance and guidance methodology

Based upon these guidance and cartographic techniques, we are developing a usage feedback method that will allow the diagnosis of the difficulties present in a particular area and the subsequent establishment of the mapping content with audio augmented reality concerning the points of interest encountered. The key actor in the use feedback method is the handicapped person, in this case the visually impaired user. The users, who are experts with regard to their proper situation, provide information concerning an explored area within a precise methodological framework, thereby making the adaptation of these informaiton possible in a manner which may be useful to others. As a supplement to guidance in an automatic mode, like that of the GPS available in automobiles, we are developing a system of assistance by third-persons. The third-person could be a call center, or family and friends of the user. The third-person providing remote assistance would be able to situate the user on a map in a web page. We also are considering the possibility of video assitance via the camera on the tool.