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Kinecthesia - Obstacle Detection Belt for the Blind

Kinecthesia - Obstacle Detection Belt for the Blind

Accessibility is one of the most exciting and practical uses of a Kinect sensor. Forget about using the 3D depth sensing camera for games, videos or performing arts -- although they are pretty damn cool. Let's focus on making the world a better place using technology. Jeff Kiske and Eric Berdinis are two such visionaries who have developed a system to help the blind navigate around with a little added assurance thanks to the Kinect.

Kinecthesis aims to replace walking canes and seeing eye dogs by applying depth sensing techniques in order to make the user aware of an approaching object or obstacle. With the goal of making the prototype as minimalistic as possible, the designers rigged a kinect sensor to a waist belt with tiny vibrating motors attached to the inside. As a user approaches an obstacle, the vibrating motors kick in and increase in intensity as the object becomes closer. Depending on the position of the obstacle, the belt motors will vibrate on the corresponding side of the belt.

The depth data is divided into three zones that correspond to three sets of vibration motors around the belt. The intensity of each vibration motor is calculated based on the distance of the obstacles in that buzzers zone. The intensity varies exponentially based on the objects distance from the user.

For more on this amazing and inspiration use of Kinect technology, visit