Designing Smart Shoes for Obstacle Detection: Empowering Visually Challenged Users Through ICT
The paper presents a case of Smart Shoes that uses ultrasonic sensors to detect the obstacle in front of the user. Additionally, this shoe signals a user by tapping at the foot arch. An evaluative study of the Smart Shoes was conducted with (n = 31) users; (17) blind people, (9) low vision and (5) non-disabled users. The study was conducted to judge reliability of the Smart Shoes by evaluating it from (a) ratio of obstacles identified to total obstacles encountered, (b) distance of obstacle apprehension and (c) response time. The study was conducted in a controlled and definite environment. The results from the study illustrate this footwear to be 89.5% effective in detecting obstacles such as vehicles, people, furniture, footpaths, poles, and miscellaneous obstacles with a mean response time of 3.08 s. Users average distance of obstacle apprehension was 108 cm in regular mode and 50 cm in the crowd mode. The future research & evaluative studies will be conducted in actual operational/moving environments.
KeywordsDesign Blind people Low vision Non-disabled Visual Impairment New Product Development Mobility
The research team would like to acknowledge Mr. Anip Sharma’s contribution for his support in building the prototype and assist us in conducting the field experiment.
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