Augmented reality technology for people with visual impairment

The “Obstacle Detection in Augmented Reality” (ObstAR) research project aims to develop an Augmented Reality-based navigation device that allows visually impaired individuals to minimise their dependence on conventional aids, such as walking sticks or assistance from third parties. 

The initiative is the result of collaboration between researchers from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) and the University of Waterloo, who invented the innovative device using Augmented Reality technology, revolutionising navigation for visually impaired people in their world. This device offers them a new sense of independence and freedom.

The research combines a clinical study examining the behaviour of visually impaired patients and healthy participants when navigating familiar and unfamiliar obstacles, with the practical implementation of a navigation aid built with AR glasses and an artificial intelligence recognition algorithm.

To improve the ability to recognise the environment and avoid obstacles, the device integrates a set of advanced algorithms, including obstacle avoidance navigation, object recognition and segmentation, scene recognition, text recognition and gesture recognition. This comprehensive approach aims to meet the diverse navigation needs of patients, ensuring safe navigation and greater environmental awareness.

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