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Project CE4Blind improves quality of life of the visually impaired

INESC TEC, in collaboration with the University of Texas at Austin, in the United States, and ACAPO (the Portuguese Association for the Visually Impaired), has developed a mobile digital platform capable of improving the quality of life of the visually impaired in a non-invasive manner.

The CE4Blind platform (Context Extraction for the blind using computer vision) allows the visually impaired to become more autonomous and to perform daily tasks – such as reading a newspaper or a restaurant menu, or even identifying a path or a package – more safely using computer vision techniques.

This is the result of a work that emerged from two other projects, the Blavigator and SmartVision. The CE4Blind started in May 2015 and will be concluded with the development of a prototype that is now being tested. The goal is then to market the product, or at least allow the institutions involved to benefit from it.

The new technology developed as part of the CE4Blind is an app that can be used on mobile devices and works by combining four elements: an electronic cane, a camera, a smartphone and a headset, all interconnected in order to transmit appropriate information to the user. This new technology allows the visually impaired to better understand their surrounding environment through adapted information, allowing them to become more independent and confident in their daily tasks.

João Barroso, Hugo Paredes and Vítor Filipe, researchers at INESC TEC's Centre for Information Systems and Computer Graphics (CSIG), and professors at the University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro (UTAD), are responsible for the project. The first two visited the University of Austin between 22 and 27 October, where they met with the CE4Blind partners to conclude the project and to discuss future research topics.

The researchers mentioned in this news piece are associated with INESC TEC and UTAD.

INESC TEC, November 2016

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