Toward a computer vision-based wayfinding aid for blind persons to access unfamiliar indoor environments

YingLi Tian, Xiaodong Yang, Chucai Yi, Aries Arditi
2012 Machine Vision and Applications  
Independent travel is a well known challenge for blind and visually impaired persons. In this paper, we propose a proof-of-concept computer vision-based wayfinding aid for blind people to independently access unfamiliar indoor environments. In order to find different rooms (e.g. an office, a lab, or a bathroom) and other building amenities (e.g. an exit or an elevator), we incorporate object detection with text recognition. First we develop a robust and efficient algorithm to detect doors,
more » ... tors, and cabinets based on their general geometric shape, by combining edges and corners. The algorithm is general enough to handle large intra-class variations of objects with different appearances among different indoor environments, as well as small inter-class differences between different objects such as doors and door-like cabinets. Next, in order to distinguish intra-class objects (e.g. an office door from a bathroom door), we extract and recognize text information associated with the detected objects. For text recognition, we first extract text regions from signs with multiple colors and possibly complex backgrounds, and then apply character localization and topological analysis to filter out background interference. The extracted text is recognized using off-the-shelf optical character recognition (OCR) software products. The object type, orientation, location, and text information are presented to the blind traveler as speech.
doi:10.1007/s00138-012-0431-7 pmid:23630409 pmcid:PMC3636776 fatcat:vzgprhkgp5f4jda5splpbvjsky