Research Overview

Assistive Technology and Robotics

Interactive Indoor Navigation Aid System for Visually Impaired People

   The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 285 million people in the world are visually impaired, of whom 39 million are blind. Although safe and independent mobility is a critical element of modern life, traveling in unfamiliar environments can be challenging and often daunting for visually impaired people due to the lack of appropriate navigation aid tools. In order to get familiarity with new places, visually impaired people usually take many times of mobility training through orientation & mobility instructors or their family. However, this training is time consuming and expensive for all the parties. Furthermore, it often appears to be challenging for visually impaired people to memorize all the steps to navigate new places independently. The objective of this project is to develop improved and appropriate navigation aid tools that will enable visually impaired people to travel unfamiliar environments safely and independently with minimal training and effort.

navigation_yj  navigation

Examine the Potential of Robots to Teach Emotional Concepts

   Autistic people is a special group who have impaired ability in social interaction, social communication and imagination. Several approaches have been used to help them, among which humanoid robot is emerging as a new tool to teach them recently, since it could offer more simplified physical features and controllable environment which is preferred by autistic children. At the same time, a robot could offer a human-friendly conversational environment which is appropriate to emotion and social skills learning. This project is trying to design a set of robot body movements which is supposed to express different emotions and a robot-mediated instruction prototype to explore the potential of robots to teach emotional concepts to autistic children.

Emergency and Non – Emergency Response Using Smartphone-based Indoor Localization

   The purpose of this study is for a blind user to request help based on emergency and non-emergency situation using indoor navigation application. Usage of indoor navigation application is to serve the purpose of sending the exact location of a blind user to the responders when the blind user is in indoor settings. The goal of the study is twofold. The first goal of this research is to build an android application and achieve accuracy of one meter or less using Wi-Fi signals inside the building. The second goal of this study is to evaluate the usefulness of providing the exact location i.e., room number, floor, floor map and building name to the emergency responders to reach the destination promptly. The main idea behind this project is to evaluate, if providing exact location of a user inside a building helps emergency or non-emergency responders to reach location inside the building quicker rather than searching entire building for the victim. As a preliminary study, an accuracy of one meter was achieved around 70 percent of the time in our test runs, and this accuracy implies that we were able to send the exact location of the blind user with one-meter accuracy to the responders 70 percent of the times.