Motivation And Problem Statement Information Technology Essay

A corridor indoor navigation system is proposed for any kind of visual impaired persons: blind, partially sighted, and people with progressive loss of vision. This system can help the visually impaired individuals to travel through familiar or unfamiliar corridor by using the Kinect sensor that mounted on the head or holding into hand. This chapter consists of five parts. The five parts can be divided into problem statements, project scopes, project objectives, contributions, and background information.

1.1 Motivation and Problem Statement

Visually impaired individuals will face many difficulties and one of the common difficulties is when they involve in self-navigating at an environment which is strange for them. In fact, physical movement is one of the biggest challenges for them. Besides that, while they travel around or walking at a crowded corridor, it may pose great difficulty. One of the existing problems for visually impaired individuals to travel in a corridor is that they cannot detect either they need to turn left or turn right when reached to the end of the corridor by using only the walking stick. According to Saaid M.F [7], to walk at the corridor, the visually impaired individuals must find the border of the sidewalk at the corridor and then use their walking stick to define their current location. The reason why the visually impaired individuals do that is because they cannot forecast the obstacle which is far from them while they only can use the walking stick to detect the area around them.

1.2 Project Scope

The scope of this project is to develop a system which can help visually impaired individuals to navigate in the corridor and calculate the distance of obstacles. This system used the sensor of the Kinect to detect the obstacles. Kinect is a low-cost 3D sensor developed by Microsoft for the XBOX 360 console which allows the player to use his own body as the game controller. Besides that, it consists of an RGB camera associated with an infrared transmitter and receiver, which permits to estimate the distance of the elements taken from the environment. This system using sensor of the Kinect to building the depth map, which can provides the distance of the obstacles detected in front of the visually impaired individuals.

1.3 Project Objectives

In this project, the main objective is to develop a cheaper in price but will still maintain with a good functional system for the visually impaired individuals. This system able to help visually impaired individuals to avoid the obstacles such as people and animal on the corridor same with them; and it also can provides the distance of the obstacles in front of them. The aim of this project is to improve the visually impaired individuals’ ability in finding the direction at the corridor while they are walking rather than just rely on the walking stick to detect all the obstacles manually and waste their time in finding the exactly direction that they want to heading to.

1.4 Impact, significance and Contribution

This system is designed especially for any kind of visual impaired persons: blind, partially sighted, and people with progressive loss of vision. This system will give a lot of benefits to the visually impaired individuals especially for those who have financial problem. According to the researcher Choo, Malaysia has around 60,000 visually impaired individuals and 28,000 of them had registered as a blind and applied to get the help from the welfare provided in Malaysia. This mean that the number of visually impaired individuals that have financial problem had covered more than half in the total number of impaired visually individuals and this is reason why the system provide is cheaper and affordable by most of the impaired visually individuals.

More than that, this system able to provide the distance of the obstacles in front of visually impaired individuals by using sensor of the Kinect. It also able delivers the visually impaired individuals the existing direction to help them headed to the right direction. With the system provided, the visually impaired individual able walk at the corridor safety since the system developed is able to guide them along the corridor by providing the information of the surrounding along the corridor. With the system developed the visually impaired individuals also able to improve their own ability or less dependent to the help of other people while walking along the corridor. The reason why the visually impaired individuals can improve themselves into a more independent individual is because the system able to help them in finding the direction while they are walking at the corridor. Hence, the visually impaired person able to more likes a normal person in their daily lifestyle.

1.5 Background Information

Nowadays, the tools to assist the visually impaired individuals are become very important because the tools are used to help them to navigate the surrounding in the corridor. According to Casey Helmick [3], those people who are visually impaired individuals often will rely on different tools to help them in travelling around. Dog guide and walking stick are the most common tools to assist visually impaired individuals in daily life. However, not all of them afford to purchase a guide dog, since the guide dog is at a quite expensive price level and will require consuming their time in training with the guide dog and getting the license and only able travelling around with the guide dog. The training cost and the license cost will also become one of the concern which they cannot afford all the cost plus the guide dog cannot available to enter some places such as hotel, apartment and hospital and this restrict them to walk smoother at indoor environment with just an assist from the walking stick. Besides that, some of the visually impaired individuals can’t be around dogs. [3]

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Furthermore, the visually impaired individuals only can use the walking sticks to estimate and determine the obstacle on the floor along the corridor and the obstacle must be close with their current location since the length of their walking stick is limited. A walking stick may be harder to carry, since it’s longer than the actual walking stick and because the blind people use walking stick while walking, so they only have one hand free [6]. Hence, this cause the visually impaired individuals become inconvenience especially when their hands need carry a lot of items and since one of their hand need carry walking stick, so they may not able to carry all of the items. Besides that, the existing walking stick for visually impaired individuals has the range detection problem. The walking stick cannot detect the distance that much more far away from the individual or the moving objects that moving around the corridor. Unlike normal person they cannot sense the all of the objects and moving objects since they cannot see, so, this causes them a problem when they walk at the corridor. The existing walking stick also cannot assist and help the visually impaired individuals to detect the possible way whether to turn either left or right when they reached to the end of the corridor. To improve the limitation that do exist on the current visually impaired individuals walking stick, the corridor indoor navigation system has been proposed.

Chapter 2

Literature Review

Due to the inconvenience of walking stick in the corridor, there are many researchers that have been researching to discover a new way to solve the problem. In this chapter, there are some systems that are reviewed. Some of them are taken from journal or internet.

2.1 Ultrasonic Ranging System

A mobile ultrasonic ranging system is the system that used to expand the environmental detection range for visually impaired individuals by using the Sona SwitchTM 1700 (Electronic Design and packing, Livonia, Michigan). This sensor uses a pulse of ultrasonic waves to determine the distance to obstacles. There are several hardware are used to set up the system such as AD654 Monolithic Voltage-to-Frequency Converter, 2 small headphone speakers, helmet, 15 volt power source, 2 plastic experimenter boxes, breadboard, resistors, capacitors, and minor circuitry. This project contains two modes of detections which is analog and digital mode. The analog mode will give the blind a mental picture about the environment based on the different frequencies and patterns of chirps elicited. The digital mode functions for detection a basically served to alert the blind of nearby obstacles [1].

The Ultrasonic Ranging System has less transmission attenuation, strong reflectivity, insensitive to light and electromagnetic. Especially with the appearance of intelligent ranging machines which take micro controller as the core, the ultrasonic detection device has been greatly improved in its detection accuracy, method and application range, and it has become an important part in the intelligent detection field [1].

Ultrasonic wave angular misalignment is one of the weaknesses of the system. In order for ultrasonic waves to propagate correctly during the echo respond phase, they must have a perpendicular surface to reflect from. Angular misalignment between the normal of the transmitting and receiving surfaces may cause the measured distance to differ from the actual distance [1]. Besides that, the hardware use by the system is expensive because mostly the hardware is manufacture and imported from other foreign countries.

Other than that, to reduce the problem of ultrasonic angular misalignment, the suggested solution is by using different transmit and receiving ultrasonic transducer pairs. Reducing the size and weight of the ultrasonic sensor would greatly improve the ergonomic capabilities of the system [1].

2.2 Point Locus Wearable GPS PathFinder system 

Point Locus Wearable GPS PathFinder system is designed specialized as away finding aid for the visually impaired individuals as they travel outdoor. The system communicates in a language of vibrations to the user, so that will be able to guide them. The vibration comes from two vibrating pager motors located on the user’s triceps. Whenever they need to turn, whichever vibrator is closest to the turn angle will vibrate. Then, the user stops and rotates in that direction, until they feel the vibration from both vibrators. This indicates the user is facing the right direction and should move forward. This signal is repeated every 20 seconds as a reassurance to the user that they are going in the right direction and should continue forward. When a destination is reached, a sustained vibration from both vibrators of 5 seconds indicates this.

Point Locus Wearable GPS PathFinder system will record GPS location data and use the current location of the user, and the desired destination to form a path from one point to the other. This information will be used by a microcontroller to control the vibrator circuits, so they will vibrate at the proper time. [4]

This system will serve as important tools as one of the most important senses for visually impaired users that are the sense of touch. The purpose of the system is to design a product that will be able to aid visually impaired people in a meaningful way. It needs to be something practical that compliments their natural adaptations to their disability and extends their limitations. It will be a cost effective solution that improves their way finding ability, making them much more independent when travelling.

By using the sense of touching, rather than audio, the system does not overload one vital sense that is needed as an adapted way to orient oneself. It also does not require vision to put on and adjust to the right size, because Velcro allows a person to feel out the proper place to attach the straps.

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This system is to record the GPS location in order to determine the path. The weakness of GPS is ineffective for accurate positioning in indoor environment such as underground, under water, tunnels and so on, because the walls can significantly interfere with GPS transmissions. The lost of signals will make the users feel unsafe because for a visually impaired person they will panic. Furthermore, the visually impaired has lacked the freedom to walk without friend or family member accompany, especially through the unfamiliar environments.

2.3 Corridor Navigation and Obstacle Avoidance using Visual Potential

This system is developing a navigation algorithms that using visual potential for corridor navigation and obstacle avoidance. The visual potential is computed from an image sequence and optical flow computed from successive images captured by the camera mounted on the robot. The robot selects a local pathway using the visual potential observed through its vision system. This algorithm enables mobile robots to avoid obstacles without any knowledge of a robot workspace. Using the visual potential field and optical flow, Naoya Ohnishi defines a control flow for corridor navigation and obstacles avoidance of the mobile robot.

The path-planning problem of a mobile robot is to determine the trajectory. The trajectory is determined as the path from the start point to the destination point without collision with obstacles in the configuration space. The potential field method [10] yields a path from a start point to a destination point using the gradient field computed from the potential field derived from the map of the configuration of the robot workspace.

On the other hand, the navigation problem of a mobile robot is to determine the robot motion at an arbitrary time [9]. In a real environment, the payload of mobile robots is restricted, for example, power supply, capacity of input devices and computing power. Therefore, mobile robots are required to have simple mechanisms and devices [8].

Chapter 3

Methodology, Implementation Issues and Challenge, Timeline

3.1 Methodology

The methodology that we will use in this project is Prototyping methodology. The reasons why we use this methodology are because the method is easier to understand, more user friendly and the steps are better structured. The developer will be able to modify the system continuously until meet the objectives. There are five steps in Prototyping methodology; they are planning, analysis, design, implementation, and final system [15]. Planning is the process of understanding of the reason the system will be built and the requirement. Analysis includes the problem identifying, analysis, predicting potential problems, and how the system will be built. System analysis leads to design decision, determines how the system operates in the term of process, data, hardware and other factor. Implementation includes the time when we want to build, tested and also installed. It includes the training and also system maintenance.

sdlc_prototype.gif

Figure 3.1 Prototyping Methodology: Source: http://www.slepi.net/blog/system-development/system-development-life-cycle-sdlc-methodologies.html, Wiras Adi( February,2008)

3.1.1 Planning

Planning is the first stage of the prototyping methodology. A good project planning will increases the success rate of the project. Project planning is about what activity we needed in this project, and how much time allocate to every single activity. The purpose of this project planning is to show us a big picture how the whole programs flow and the total time needed to complete the project. Grantt chart is one of the tools that we used for schedule the activity. It also helps us track back how much we are delayed.

3.1.2 Analysis

In this stage, developer need to analyse the application looks like, how it functions, how much it cost to makes a better system. In order to makes a better system, developer need to analyse other existing system to cover their limitation and weaknesses. Developer also needs to analyse the technology involved to make sure the hardware and software are supported.

3.1.3 Design

System requirement specifications need to be studied before go to system design. There are many software that can be used for develop the system. This system is developed by using C++ programming languages and Kinect Xbox.

3.1.4 Implementation

This is coding stage. After the design stage, this stage make all feature become functional. First of all, start with preparing all the hardware and software requirement. Install the Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 software, and connect with Kinect Xbox. After that start coding and test the result. Several algorithms and software will be used to implements the system. All functions will be tested until it reached the project objectives. There are several way of testing can be conduct such as black-box testing, white-box testing, unit testing, system integration testing, and user acceptance testing.

3.1.5 Final System

After all the stage has done, this stage will be the delivery stage and maintenance stage. To ensure the visually impaired individuals know how to use it, lesson training will be provided. Whenever the visually impaired individuals find any error, the maintenance service is provided to ensure the system work perfectly.

3.2 Implementation Issues and Challenges

In every project, risks will always exist because of the issues and challenges that arise in the process of the project. Without any exception, this project also arise some issues and challenges such as:

Time constrain

Time is the main problem. We still need to manage our time with other subjects. To handle this problem, there is the reason to have the project planning.

Code and software complexity

Code complexity is another main problem due to our limited knowledge on the C++ language. Software that used to apply in this system also is the problem for us due to we don’t have any knowledge about this area. To handle this problem, we need to make a research and study to increase my knowledge in this program.

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We have faced other difficulty when get the image pixel. The Kinect depth sensors convert the color to black, grey, and white. Black color is unknown area which mean too far or too near. White and grey is detected area. The difficulty we faced is we unable to let the laptop know which is object, which is wall, and which pixel we want get for calculate the distance. (Figure 3.3)

3.3 Timeline / Project Planning

Project planning is very important to limit the time that we will use. So, it is a kind of time management for our project. Below, we will describe our project planning for Project 1.

Project I Timeline

Week

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

Topic

Assigned

Identify problem statement, scope, objective,

and background

information

Literature review

Methodology and planning

Project finalization and proposal submission

Proposal Presentation

Figure 3.4 Project I Timeline

Explanation:

Topic assigned

The title is assigned by the faculty.

Identify problem statement, scope, objectives, and background information

Found the reason why we want to do this project, the scope, and found the information that was useful for us to understand more about this project.

Literature Review

In this step, we make a research to something that is related to this project and this research more to the journal and other official material.

Methodology and planning

In this step, we planned how we want to do our project; we determined our steps and followed them.

Project finalization and proposal submission

Make a hardcopy of the things that we have understand and read. Then, pass it up to the supervisor.

Proposal presentation

Make a presentation to our supervisor and also moderator. And prepare a Microsoft power point slide to them.

Project II Timeline

Current Week

Week

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

Study the C++ language and software

Code edition

Testing

Thesis documentation

Figure 3.5 Project II Timeline

Chapter 4

Requirement Specification

4.1 User Requirement

4.1.1 Functional Requirement

i) Obstacles Avoidance – This system able to help user detect the obstacles position.

ii) Distance calculation – This system will count the distance from user to object detected.

iii) Information – This system will tell user the object’s distance through the earphone.

4.1.2 Non-Functional Requirement

i) Reliability – Recover from failure. A testing plan shall be developed for this purpose.

ii) Usability – This system shall be easy to understand, easy to learn, and easy to use. It shall simplify tasks to set up and run it.

iii) Portability – This system shall be portable between computers. Additionally, the software shall be easy to install and remove.

4.2 System Performance Definition

4.2.1 Hardware Requirements

Microsoft Kinect Xbox

Laptop

32-bit(x86) or 64-bit(x64) processor

Dual-core 2.66 GHz or faster processor

Dedicated USB 2.0 bus

2 GB RAM

4.2.2 Software Requirements

Windows 7 Operating System

Microsoft Visual Studio 2010

.Net Framework 4.0

Microsoft-speech platform SDO v11

Kinect for Windows SDK v1.6

4.2.3 Programming Languages used:

C++

4.3 Design, Analysis, and Verification Plan

4.3.1 Design of Navigation system

This navigation system is using Kinect Xbox for developed. Kinect itself contain of 2 3D depth sensors, RGB camera, multi-array microphone, and motorized tilt. Kinect’s sensor can measure the object’s distances from 0.6cm to 4cm. Figure 4.3.1 is Kinect Xbox 360, Figure 4.3.2 is the overall outlook of the system.

Figure 4.3.1 Kinect Xbox 360

Figure 4.3.2 Navigation System Outlook

4.3.2 Analysis

If the system able to assist the blind people successfully navigates in the corridor, we can consider that our project is successful. Besides the main objectives, there are some sub-objectives we need to focus are:

Move freely without collision with human

Able to avoid collision with the object while travelling along the corridor

Provide information to blind people such as the distance of the object

4.3.3 Verification Plan

To verify whether the navigation system is met the objectives or not, we put it into real environment for testing. First, we put some object in the corridor, and covered the user’s eyes, and then ask the user walk along the corridor for testing the system. When the object is detected, the system will start counting the distance of the object, and tell user the object’s distance. Besides that, we also test for human avoidance. Example: when a human suddenly stand in front of the user, is it the system successful to detect the human and tell the user?

4.4 System Overview

Chapter 6

Conclusion

6.1 Project Review

5.0 Conclusion

In this paper, we proposed a system which is indoor navigation corridor system to improve the limitation of the walking stick. The majority of chapter one is about the problem of the walking stick and its weaknesses. Chapter one also covers the project scope, project objectives, contribution, and also background information. The chapter 2 consists of review of researches that have been done in order to improve the limitation of the walking stick (to extend the range of detection).

The chapter 3 consists of methodology, tools and timeline. The methodology used in the proposed system has main level, which is low level stage, intermediate stage, and high level stage. The functionality of each stage will be discussed in chapter 3. The tools we using has 2 parts, which is hardware and software.

The objective we implements this system is to help the visually impaired individuals avoid the obstacles such as people and animal on the corridor same with them. The aim of this project is to improve the visually impaired individuals’ ability in finding the direction at the corridor while they are walking rather than just rely on the walking stick to detect all the obstacles manually and waste their time in finding the exactly direction that they want to heading to.

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