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Title:Navigator- A navigation system for the visually impaired
Author(s):Ailavajhala, Megha
Advisor(s):Fu, Wai-Tat
Department / Program:Computer Science
Discipline:Computer Science
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Visually impaired
Voice Navigation
Object detection
Google Maps
button size
blindness level
Google API
turn-by-turn instruction
speech synthesizer
Abstract:This paper proposes a navigation system on an android platform, Navigator, designed for the visually impaired for easy and independent travel. People with physical disabilities have a tough time going from one place to another and the conventional methods are using canes or guide dogs or human assistance. This system would use voice-to-text and text-to-speech technologies to communicate with the user easily effectively. The system would also give turn-by-turn voice navigation while detecting any obstacles on the way. Two user studies were conducted to better understand these characteristics and features of the system. Visually impaired people who were familiar with navigation systems as an application on their mobile devices were selected to use Navigator and give us their feedback based on the ease of use, speech to test functionality etc. In the first user study, the participants were asked to use the app while walking in a pre-determined path with obstacles. This would give them a real life situation to work with and it was found that most of the participants were comfortable with the object detection technology. However, they wanted it to be a bit more precise and give more feedback in terms of the recognition of the object. They were also asked to use the speech synthesizer technology to understand the routes and instructions being told. Most of the participants were able to clearly understand them but they wished for a more detailed instruction The results from the first user study led us to conduct another study. This time our main focus was to compare Navigator with other existing apps like Google maps. This comparison would help the participants and us, get a better idea of how different or similar both the apps were. On specific routes, the participants were asked to use Google maps and Navigator alternatively. Some of the differences in both the navigation systems were the distance being calculated- Google maps used miles while Navigator used blocks, repetition of the last instruction being available, etc. The results were quite interesting. We noticed that as the users used the system, with time they would make fewer errors, in terms of incorrectly clicking any button or not understanding any instruction. For most of the participants the routes chosen was not familiar so it was quite interesting to see how dependent they were on either of the Navigation system but were able to flow Navigator better as the distance was in blocks, which they were quite used to. From both the user studies, we have tried to improve the functionalities of the system so that we can give the users a better user experience. One change that was done included the map in the Navigator being reduced in size in the second study, to give space to bigger buttons. After the second user study, we decided to include the functionality of the system giving the instruction automatically as one approaches a turn instead of having a button to click on. The results have proven that the participants appreciate the Navigator system more as the functionalities are more applicable and supportive of the needs of the visually impaired.
Issue Date:2015-12-03
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 Megha Ailavajhala
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-03-02
Date Deposited:2015-12

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