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Wearable devices can reduce collision risk in blind and visually impaired people – California News Times

Dr. Gang Luo displays the camera on the strap of a wearable collision device. The camera is connected to a processing unit that captures an image and analyzes collision risk based on the relative movement of incoming and surrounding objects. Credit: Mass Eye and Ear

According to a new study, wearable computer vision devices are used by both visually impaired and visually impaired people, and those who use long wands and guide dogs, compared to using other mobility aids alone. Collision can be reduced by 37%.

People with visual impairments are at a much higher risk of collisions and falls. Commonly used mobility aids such as long wands and guide dogs can offer benefits, but each has its limitations in effectiveness and cost.Some are Electronic device Although sold directly to consumers who claim to warn the wearer of surrounding objects, there is little evidence of their effectiveness in the actual everyday mobile environment. This is one of the first randomized controlled trials to explore the potential benefits of devices in the home and outside a controlled lab environment. A new study led by vision rehabilitation researchers at Mass Eye and Ear, a member of Mass General Brigham, was published on July 22nd. JAMA Ophthalmology..

“Independent travel is an integral part of everyday life for many visually impaired people, but walking alone increases the risk of hitting obstacles,” said the Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass Eye and Ear. Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School. “Many visually impaired people use long wands to detect obstacles, collision Risk is not completely eliminated.We tried development and testing Terminal You can increase these daily Mobility aid, Further improve their safety. “

Wearable devices can reduce the risk of collisions for the visually impaired

Enlarged view of the image processing unit of the wearable collision device. Credit: Mass Eye and Ear

Vibrating wearable device prototype tested

The experimental equipment used in the test was Shrinivas Pundlik, Ph.D., the lead author of the computer vision algorithm. Created by Dr. Luo and colleagues in his visual rehabilitation lab, including. The device and data recording unit were enclosed in a sling backpack with a wide-angle camera strapped to the chest and two Bluetooth-connected wristbands worn by the user. The camera is connected to a processing unit that captures images and analyzes collision risk based on the relative movement of incoming and surrounding objects within the camera’s field of view. When an imminent collision is detected on the left or right side, the corresponding wristband vibrates. A head-on collision causes both wristbands to vibrate. Unlike other devices that simply warn you if the user is moving towards an object, this device analyzes relative motion, only warns you of approaching obstacles at risk of collision, and is on the collision course. Ignore objects that are not in.

The new study included 31 visually impaired adults who used long wands and / or guide dogs to assist in their daily movements. After being trained to use the device, they used it at home for about a month in combination with their typical mobility device (mainly a long wand). The device is randomized to switch between active mode, which allows the user to receive vibration alerts for imminent collisions, and silent mode, where the device processes and records images but does not warn the user when a potential collision is detected. I did. Silent mode is comparable to the placebo state in many clinical trials testing drugs. Wearers and researchers do not know when the device mode changed during testing and analysis. The collision was analyzed by researchers from the recorded video. The effectiveness of the device was assessed by comparing the collisions that occurred between active and silent modes. The study found that the frequency of collisions in active mode was 37% less than the frequency of collisions in silent mode.

Wearable devices can reduce the risk of collisions for the visually impaired

Dr. Gang Luo, Associate Scientist at the Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass Eye and Ear, and Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School. Credit: Mass Eye and Ear

Providing new options for the visually impaired

Long wands are one of the most effective and affordable movement tools for the visually impaired and visually impaired, but they have their limitations. The wand primarily detects dangers on the ground within reach. However, ground hazards are often overlooked. In addition, in crowded environments such as cities, the range of long cane sweeps can be limited to avoid hitting nearby pedestrians. Guide dogs are very effective, but training guide dogs usually costs $ 45,000 to $ 60,000, making them difficult to obtain and exorbitant for many. A chest-mounted collision warning device could provide users with long wands with options that help avoid overhanging and moving obstacles, Dr. Luo explained.

Alex Bowers, Ph.D., a clinical researcher and co-author of the treatise. Added that the video recordings in this study also provide a wealth of data on the mobility of daily life in visually impaired people. This gives researchers a better understanding of the challenges of collision detection in this population.

“Long wands are still a very useful and cost-effective tool and work well in many situations, but such wearable devices fill gaps that wands can miss and are more affordable. We hope we can offer you an easy option. Guide dog“The insights provided by our data may help improve mobility assistance training,” said Dr. Bowers.

Next, Dr. Luo and his team aim to take advantage of mobile processing power and continuous camera improvements to make the device smaller and look better. With additional funding, the team hopes that such devices will be submitted to the US Food and Drug Administration for approval and will be marketable to people with poor vision.

Dr. Joan W. Miller, MD, Director of Ophthalmology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Ophthalmology, said: Chairman of the Hospital, Ophthalmology, Professor of Ophthalmology, David Glendening Cogan, Harvard Medical School.


Wearable devices help visually impaired people avoid collisions


For more information:
JAMA Ophthalmology (2021). DOI: 10.1001 / jamaophthalmol.2021.2624

Provided by
Massachusetts Eye and Ear Clinic

Quote: Wearable devices are visually impaired (July 22, 2021) obtained from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-07-wearable-devices-collision-visually-impaired.html on July 22, 2021. You can reduce the risk of collision.

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