New Device Helps Blind People Maneuver

BEER-SHEVA, Israel, June 3 (UPI) — Students at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University say they’ve created an optical radar system to help blind people maneuver around obstacles.

The students, led by Professor Shlomi Arnon, said their radar system incorporates a computer, two video cameras and a scanning light source to warn of obstacles with audible alerts. The system detects obstacles — even those overhead — by scanning the depth of its surroundings, taken from two different angles.

Many types of assistance “devices,” such as seeing-eye dogs and sticks equipped with sensors, are available to help blind people avoid obstacles, the researchers said.

But each system has its disadvantages, Arnon said, noting, for example, a seeing-eye dog needs extensive and expensive training, and can only work for an average of seven years.

“This optical radar device is not only user friendly, but unlike the other solutions it allows the blind to have the use of both of their hands.”

Developed by engineering students Elad Kuperberg and Einav Tasa, the system was shown for the first time last week as part of the annual conference of projects at the university.

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Categorized | Engineering, Other
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