Blind people generally face difficulty going around public places especially the unknown ones. Various techniques have been devised to help them navigate. But these methods solve for a very particuar situation and/or are inefficient. To solve this problem of constructing a very reliable and intuitive way of mapping the surrounding world to the visually disabled person, we came up with a virtual reality environment to take feedback from the user and iterate over to build a better model.
In this project we constructed a virtual environment using Unity Engine. The arena was built like a maze and the user had to navigate to the other end of the maze without any visual of the arena! We provided the user with sound and haptic feedback and monitored the user's movements using Oculus Rift. This virtual environment helps to simulate various real life scenarios like indoors/outdoor, short/tall walls, crowded/uncrowed places etc without putting the user at any real risk. This also helps to add/remove any physical stimulus at any time. The feedback collected from the user is then again feed back into the model to make it better.
This project was done as a part of the MIT REDX 2015 workshop at Hyderabad, India. Our team was mentored by Prof. Ramesh Raskar, Tristan Swedish and Mrinal Mohit.