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Advanced Indoor Navigation Aid for Blind and Visually-Impaired Individuals in Unfamiliar Spaces

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 2R44EY029213-02
Agency Tracking Number: R44EY029213
Amount: $1,044,792.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: N
Solicitation Number: PA17-302
Timeline
Solicitation Year: 2017
Award Year: 2018
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2018-09-30
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2020-09-29
Small Business Information
88 HIGH COUNTRY RD
Weaverville, NC 28787-9374
United States
DUNS: 155118362
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 PHILIP SCHAEFER
 (828) 645-1026
 phil@vortant.com
Business Contact
 ELIZABETH MORGAN
Phone: (828) 645-1026
Email: liz@vortant.com
Research Institution
N/A
Abstract

Project Summary Abstract Confusionbeing lostand losing track of oneandapos s orientation within large or unfamiliar indoor spacesthese are some of the biggest challenges facing people with visual disabilitiesSince GPS typically doesnandapos t work indoorsand isnandapos t fine grained enough anywayindividuals who cannot readily access visual information are at a significant disadvantageand many blind individuals choose to avoid venturing into unfamiliar territory unless absolutely necessarythus are often deprived of many of the social and economic opportunities available to othersThis SBIR Phase II application proposes a technology solution to address the indoor navigation needs experienced by people with disabilitiesIt has several advantages over other wayfinding approachesin that it requires no infrastructure in indoor spaces nor does it require maps to be created prior to navigationThus it is applicable to any unfamiliar indoor or outdoor spaceWe present a Research Plan that builds on a successful Phase Iin which participants experienced substantial improvements in navigation ability when using a proof of concept deviceThe Phase II project includes building an improvedminiaturized hardware deviceperforming a human subjects study to measure the positional accuracy of the sensor technologyimplementing a fully functional smartphone appiteratively conducting periodic pilot studies as the technology progressesand finally conducting in clinic and take home studies in which potential end users use the device in their everyday livesIn additionthe project includes the creation of a crowd sourced database by which users of the product will be able to share or augment navigation data from new venuesThe project will thus prove the functionality and user acceptance of a product for improved indoor navigationgiving insights into the degree to which it enhances usersquality of life Project Narrative Relevance to public healthThis project will result in a product available in the near term that helps people with visual disabilities to much more readily navigate in unfamiliar environmentsWith this technologybenefits to the subject population include greater mobilitya greater level of independenceand access to a larger range of worksocialand recreational opportunities

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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