Leading the blind

iStock_000003307963LargeDavid Bevly, Albert Smith Jr. professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, is leading a team of Auburn researchers to build a prototype extended mobility system that will help navigate the visually impaired to their desired locations.

The team is investigating the use of cameras, inertial sensors and communications devices to track the movements of visually impaired individuals who wear the system. GPS data, as well as wireless information available from future Department of Transportation wireless communication devices, will be integrated into the device to guide users to their destinations. The system will include technology developed for soldiers and unmanned vehicles by Draper Laboratory, a not-for-profit engineering research and development organization dedicated to solving national challenges.

Members of the research team include industrial and systems engineering faculty members John Evans and Richard Sesek and graduate student Tenchi Gao, mechanical engineering graduate students Robert Cofield and Christopher Rose, and consultant Richard Bishop. The system will be designed with the input of blind individuals from the National Federation of the Blind, who are crucial to ensuring the system is both accessible and useful.

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