The objective of this phase II project is to use a new and innovative sensor technology called Doppler velocimetery (DV) for solving the problem of wayfinding indoors for the vision impaired. By performing a Doppler measurement of the floor movement relative to the walking person it is possible to determine the along-track velocity, the cross-track velocity and the vertical (up or down) velocity. With these measurements it is possible to accurately calculate real-time position inside a building relative to a starting point t an entrance. The significant innovation in this technology over other indoor navigation solutions for the vision impaired is that it does not require the installation of expensive infrastructure wihin a building to provide wayfinding. Wayfinding through an unfamiliar building for persons who are blind or have low vision is a challenging task. The ability of a person to move freely within publi and commercial buildings is an important factor for integration and independence of these individuals within educational institutions, work and social environments. This proposed technology has the potential of making a major impact by providing a practical indoor wayfinding solution for the vision impaired.
Current estimates suggest that there are 12 million people in the U.S who have some form of uncorrected vision impairment, with approximately 3.4 million having low vision or legal blindness. Because of demographic trends, particularly the aging of the American population, these studies project a doubling of these numbers by 2030. A system that provides independent navigation, including location determination and directions to a destination, is an important aspect in achieving full participation within occupational and educational settings.