A smartphone app aimed at improving the quality of life for blind and visually impaired people was considered the winning project in the one-year Mobility for All competition at Wayne State University.
A group led by Jessica Tan, a sophomore medical student at Wayne State School of Medicine, received $ 10,000 from the Wayne Mobility Initiative, or WMI, an interdisciplinary group that promotes collaboration and innovation through university on mobility issues, including research, education and community engagement.
RecognEyes is an app that can help users, including the nearly 58,000 blind and visually impaired people living in Wayne County, better navigate their surroundings using an augmented reality model that integrates object detection and tracking. binaural sound. While users scan the room using their camera, RecognEyes detects objects of interest such as doors and uses binaural sound localization and remote calls to guide the user to that object. To use RecognEyes, the user only needs a headset and a smartphone.
“We believe that RecognEyes has the potential to have a significant impact on the quality of life for BVI users, not only in Detroit but for anyone with access to a smartphone,” said Tan. “After hearing first-hand accounts of the stigma faced by blind and visually impaired community members and their dependence on others, we realized the need for a navigation aid like RecognEyes, where even a little sense of acquired independence can make all the difference. “
Tan developed the app with Matthew Chea, a software engineer. She took courses for the blind and visually impaired at the community organization Disability Network Wayne County to learn about the stigma experienced by blind and visually impaired community members and their dependence on others.
The WMI Steering Committee also chose to donate $ 5,000 to support the finalists, an industrial design team from the Department of Art and Art History led by Senior Lecturer Siobhan Gregory. His group rekindled a past collaboration with Deeply Rooted Produce, a mobile grocery service that works with local urban farmers to reach underserved communities. In 2019, students created concepts for a food truck, mobile market delivery truck, mobile educational display, and sustainably designed visitor center and community kitchen.
Today’s work centers on strengthening owner Dazmonique Carr’s business plan by developing a digital application, creating print materials and other low-tech tools, and collecting data from it. ‘interviews and focus groups to understand consumer preferences and purchasing behaviors. The goal is to broaden the user base and reach of DRP services.
Since the launch of Mobility for All in October 2020, teams mainly made up of students, faculty and researchers from schools and colleges at Wayne State University have worked to present proposals to tailor their solutions to the challenges of the world. mobility in metropolitan Detroit. The field was reduced to nine semi-finalist teams in February and then to five final teams in May.
“Using mobility technologies to solve real-world problems faced by the community was the most important principle when we launched the competition,” said Weisong Shi, chairman of the WMI steering committee and professor of computer science at the College of Engineering. “The committee was very happy to see the five teams at the final stage tackle community challenges, including accessibility for people with disabilities, food insecurity and public transportation infrastructure. The result of the competition is fantastic and demonstrated the innovative ways in which our students, faculty and alumni want to change the world. “
Visit Mobilityforall.world to find out more about the competition.