Weedobooty
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Oct 21, 2016 2:35 pm

Guiding a blind...

Fri Oct 21, 2016 2:40 pm

Hello.

I'd like to throw out an idea here to see if here's anyone here who knows anything about the kind of project we're just starting up:

We want to build a system for remotely guiding blind people. To accomplish this, we want to put together a device, possibly based on a Raspberry Pi initially, that will stream video, maybe by itself or maybe through a smartphone via Bluetooth or wifi. The blind person will carry the device with a camera showing what's in front of him to the guiding person and there will be a voice connection between the blind person and the guide.

We already have some other system running, that provide much of the infrastructure for playing streamning video, showing positions on a map, plotting the route etc. Our main concern is that streaming video seems to be an issue as soon as your're in a place with less that premium coverage. We have a demo app running on Android and iPhone but the video will freeze or otherwise behave unreliably when you don't have a great connection. We're fine with a low frame-per-second rate and a low resolution from the camera as long as it works even under less than premium conditions.

The reason we're not building an app for this is that we imagine it's easier to take full control over the camera's behaviour and to add other devices. We build apps and often get frustrated by the restrictions posed by mostly the iPhone platform but also sometimes by Android.

Does anyone here have any experience with streaming video from a Raspberry Pi device and tweaking the parameters to get a "lighter" data video stream?

Also, we're interested in anyone who has experience with distance-measuring add-ons or proximity sensors that could be used in a device like this to warn the blind user for obstacles that are often something that can be dangerous and a huge problem for someone who walks the streets using only a white cane to see.

broe23
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Location: Central IL
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Re: Guiding a blind...

Sat Oct 22, 2016 12:15 am

Most already carry Smartphones. Having something like this would be useful more in helping to train those who need the extra guidance when they start learning how to adapt to being blind or even in therapy or the classroom to help with a unit that allows them to read the news in Braille. When someone is blind and relying on their Cane to help them, along with Seeing Eye Dogs. There is already Smart Canes out there.

I could see something like this useful if they have an app or use a Smart Cane and it triggers the Cane or Smartphone App to describe what they are in front of, or even for when someone comes to their door and the camera triggers the Pi to trigger an announcement that someone is at the door. A Peephole camera is all that is needed. Same with using voice recognition to turn on or off items in the household.
Ren: Now listen, Cadet. I've got a job for you. See this button? Ren: Don't touch it! It's the History Eraser button, you fool! Stimpy: So what'll happen? Ren: That's just it. We don't know. Maybe something bad, maybe something good.

Weedobooty
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Oct 21, 2016 2:35 pm

Re: Guiding a blind...

Sat Oct 22, 2016 11:13 am

Thanks for your feedback. We're already working with people representing an association for blind people, so we know there is a demand for this product. We're not worried about that. The reason i put this up on the Raspberry Pi forum was that we need input on technical aspects.

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DougieLawson
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Re: Guiding a blind...

Sat Oct 22, 2016 11:36 am

viewtopic.php?f=41&t=49634 might give you a flying start.
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PiGraham
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Joined: Fri Jun 07, 2013 12:37 pm
Location: Waterlooville

Re: Guiding a blind...

Sat Oct 22, 2016 12:25 pm

I agree with broe23 that a smartphone is a better option for this. I has the network data connection, battery system, audio, hi-res camera, GPS and it's small and easy to carry.

You would have to add most of that to us a Pi and it's going to be a lot bigger and probably more expensive.

Don't bother about hardware until you have the network issues pinned down.

Presumably you have tried some video call apps on 3G/4G data. What problems did you encounter?

I'm not sure anything you could do on Pi would make for a better solution. Any network issues will still affect you just the same.

Network dropout is always a possibility so you need a strategy to deal with that. Warn the blind user locally and maybe drop back to still frames or just let them know "you're on your own for a bit".

If you were operating in a limited area WiFi or WiMax might be options, but for general use you have to go with 3G/4G network.

Weedobooty
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Oct 21, 2016 2:35 pm

Re: Guiding a blind...

Sat Oct 22, 2016 12:44 pm

Thanks for your input, guys.

The issues we've been having with our iPhone and android apps, is that the video stream will freeze on one frame if the connection is not good enough.

PiGraham
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Location: Waterlooville

Re: Guiding a blind...

Sat Oct 22, 2016 2:47 pm

Weedobooty wrote:Thanks for your input, guys.

The issues we've been having with our iPhone and android apps, is that the video stream will freeze on one frame if the connection is not good enough.
It's probably worth working on that. But if it's not solvable on IPhone/Android why would it be better on Raspberry? The underlying network will be the same.

hjalte79
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2017 8:24 pm

Re: Guiding a blind...

Thu Mar 09, 2017 8:48 pm

My mother is blind there for i know that there are apps that do more or less what you want to do. have a look at:
http://www.bemyeyes.org/
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/blindsq ... 57255?mt=8

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