SBIR Phase I:Wearable Augmented Perception for Environmental Recognition
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project focuses on reducing the footprint of machine vision and human interface solutions in support of a wearable apparatus that will improve environmental awareness of the visually impaired. Computer vision has provided significant capabilities in the robotics domain including object tracking, facial recognition, environmental localization, and hazard detection. In the past, computer vision sensor/software systems have been slow, bulky, and power-hungry. Recent advances in imaging hardware and embedded processing now provide an opportunity to shrink vision systems, including stereo vision and other complex operations, to a size that would allow them to be embedded in a wearable apparatus, similar to wraparound sunglasses. Using an auditory signal to feedback environmental information to the wearer, this device will provide valuable, and previously unimaginable, visual sensing capabilities to the visually impaired. These include: 1) determining distance traveled even in GPS-denied environments; 2) detecting and classifying obstacles, drop-offs, overhangs, and other nearby hazards; and 3) detecting the presence and relative location of nearby people.
The broader impact/commercial potential of this project will be a significant breakthrough in the compact combination of computer vision and human interface technologies. The technology developed in this proposal has considerable impact for the visually impaired and strong commercial potential. The needs of the visually impaired are not being met by existing technology. The proposed technology will increase the independence of the visually impaired and improve their quality of life, especially with respect to social interaction. The technology, produced initially to help the visually impaired, has the potential for a much broader scientific and commercial impact. Commercial potential for this product includes robotics, military ground forces, augmented reality, and surveillance. The augmented reality market has particular broad impact beyond the visually impaired. First responders such as fire fighters and police officers can receive additional information via a computer vision prosthetic that enhances their existing perception. Additionally, there exists a strong demand by human interface researchers for this technology in a commercially available device.
Small Business Information at Submission:
100 N.E. Loop 510 Suite 520 San Antonio, TX 78216
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