An inconspicuous, integrated electronic travel aid for visual impairment

Alain Boldini, Andy Louis Garcia, Marc Sorrentino, Mahya Beheshti, Okpe Ogedegbe, Maurizio Porfiri, John-Ross Rizzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With a globally aging population, visual impairment is an increasingly pressing problem for our society. Visual disability drastically reduces quality of life and constitutes a large cost to the health care system. Mobility of the visually impaired is one of the most critical aspects affected by this disability, and yet, it relies on low-tech solutions, such as the white cane. Many avoid solutions entirely. In part, reluctance to use these solutions may be explained by their obtrusiveness, a strong deterrent for the adoption of many new devices. Here, we leverage new advancements in artificial intelligence, sensor systems, and soft electroactive materials toward an electronic travel aid with an obstacle detection and avoidance system for the visually impaired. The travel aid incorporates a stereoscopic camera platform, enabling computer vision, and a wearable haptic device that can stimulate discrete locations on the user’s abdomen to signal the presence of surrounding obstacles. The proposed technology could be integrated into commercial backpacks and support belts, thereby guaranteeing a discreet and unobtrusive solution.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASME Letters in Dynamic Systems and Control
StatePublished - 2021


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