We’re no strangers to technology used to help the less fortunate, but it’s always interesting when it’s done with a device originally intended for gaming – in this case, the Kinect. Well some folks over in New Delhi, India have come up with something called the viSparsh belt – “a computer vision assisted haptic feedback system that detects objects near the wearer and notifies them through an array of vibration motors across the belt.” Basically functioning as a replacement for regular walking sticks, the belt will help blind folks find their way around from once place to another.
The Kinect will be used to detect objects in front of the wearer and to send data to the onboard processor on the belt. The processor is then used to detect how close an object is to the user and then signal the vibration motor to turn on or off. The stronger the vibration, the closer an object is to the wearer. Once a wearer turns towards a direction where there aren’t any obstacles in his/her way, the belt will stop vibrating so they know that they can proceed forward. The motors are also in three positions – left, middle and right so they know which way to turn.
No word on when or if the viSparsh will finally be turned into a product, but you can check out a lengthy video demonstration below to see the viSparsh in action: