Feel-Beyond-Fingers device for the Blind
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): This SBIR project will create a miniature, non-intrusive device for blind individuals, to in effect, extend the sense of touch beyond the fingertips to several feet away. The device will be most useful for newly or completely blind individuals, and its utility will be most profound for locating and manipulating nearby objects, such as utensils and fixtures, especially in unfamiliar, hazardous, or unsanitary environments.
Making use of an innovative infrared distance sensing technology, the Feel-Beyond-Fingers device has several significant advantages: it will be much smaller than most orientation and mobility devices, fitting within a wristband; it will not interfere with the use of either hand; it is specifically targeted to the needs of sensing at arms' length and beyond, and will be constructed entirely of very low-cost, mass-produced components.
The Phase 1 project will begin with a Focus Group activity, including blind and visually impaired users. This activity will identify potential barriers to acceptance, and clearly identify user requirements. After mechanical and electronics development, a proof of concept device will be fabricated and tested. A group of visually impaired participants will be trained to use the device. Objective performance effects analysis will be performed. Additionally, qualitative and quantitative measurement of user opinions and feelings will be measured to establish feasibility of the device.
Small Business Information at Submission:
Principal Investigator:Philip R. Schaefer
VORTANT TECHNOLOGIES, LLC
VORTANT TECHNOLOGIES, LLC 88 HIGH COUNTRY RD WEAVERVILLE, NC 28787
Number of Employees: