A Positioning and Mapping Methodology Using Bluetooth and Smartphone Technologies to Support Situation Awareness and Wayfinding for the Visually Impaired

Principal Investigator:

  • Chen-Fu Liao, Senior Systems Engineer, Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering

Project Summary:

Building upon our previous effort in developing a mobile accessible pedestrian system to support wayfinding and navigation for people who are blind or visually impaired, we have developed a “condition aware” infrastructure, i.e. a system that can self-monitor and make sure that the information is up-to-date at the right location. The objective of the self-monitoring infrastructure is to ensure that information provided to the visually impaired through a smartphone app is valid and robust. A standalone Bluetooth low energy (BLE) device, called a BLE-master, was developed using commercial off-the-shelf BLE modules to operate in dual mode (master/slave). We plan to leverage and continue our effort from the past two years by implementing our system at a test site and evaluating the performance including accuracy and reliability of the information provided to users by collecting data via a smartphone interface to a cloud-based server. This project will investigate a sustainable power source, such as a miniature solar panel, for the BLE devices and install BLE devices in the infrastructure (e.g. at intersections, light rail platforms, or work zones) to demonstrate the system capabilities and evaluate its performance.

Project Details:

  • Start date: 07/2014
  • Project Status: Active
  • Research Area: Transportation Safety and Traffic Flow

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