A Positioning and Mapping Methodology Using Bluetooth and Smartphone Technologies to Support Situation Awareness and Wayfinding for the Visually Impaired
December 10, 2015
About the Presentation
People with vision impairment are often wary of traveling alone in an unfamiliar environment because they lack information about it. Many environmental cues, though not always reliable, are available to support the wayfinding and situation awareness of the visually impaired. To improve their mobility, accessibility, and level of confidence in using the transportation system, it is important to remove not only the physical barriers but also the information barriers that could potentially impede their mobility.
In this presentation, Chen-Fu Liao discussed the Mobile Accessible Pedestrian System (MAPS), which uses smartphone technology to provide location and signal timing information to visually impaired pedestrians. He also introduced the idea of a “self-aware” infrastructure—a system that can self-monitor and make sure that the information being provided to pedestrians is up to date. He then discussed the development of a prototype system that integrates commercial off-the-shelf Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) modules and that can detect when these BLE modules are not functioning or have been vandalized. Finally, Liao presented statistical methodologies for monitoring infrastructure and some preliminary results.
About the Speaker
Chen-Fu Liao is the senior systems engineer at the Minnesota Traffic Observatory at the University of Minnesota. His research focuses on using ITS technologies to assist people with vision impairment in finding their way. His other work includes incident decision support systems, database management and data mining, freight performance measures, and developing curriculum tools to support transportation education and training.