Using a Kinect, Blind People May Better Navigate

Filed in Gather Technology News Channel by on March 21, 2011 0 Comments

While it’s not a typical application of a gaming system, university students have created a Kinect blind navigation system that may prove to be an insight towards future applications of this currently fun-only technology.


Created at German University

Created by Michael Zöllner and Stephan Huber from the University of Konstanz in Germany, the system utilizes a Kinect camera mounted on the helmet of a visually impaired user. It was done as part of their NAVI project (Navigational Aids for the Visually Impaired), and shows how a little ingenuity can create a hacked Kinect that helps people.

Slightly Unsightly, but Effective

The device works by attaching the Kinect camera to a belt with three vibration motors at the left, right and center of the user.  According to MSNBC, the user also wears an earpiece to get audio clues.  It’s all connected to a laptop in a backpack. While not the sleekest of designs, it is highly effective and could easily be modified commercially into a more user-friendly package.

Video Demonstration

The students did provide a video demonstration of the Kinect’s usage, as seen here. By taking a commercially available gaming system, these students have created a tool that could be used for millions of visually impaired people worldwide.  And who said gaming was a waste of time?

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