Israeli students created an app for the visually impaired that helps them avoid obstacles like stairs by sending vibrations to an internet-connected belt.
Students in the Computer Science (CS) department of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology were recently awarded the IEEE International Student Projects Award for creating an app that increases the safety of visually impaired individuals. The award is given to students who contribute to improving quality of life worldwide.
The innovation was developed at the Interdisciplinary CS Center for Smart Technologies (ICST), under the supervision of Itai Dabran, by Oded Raiches, Shahar Shalev and Aviad Shiber.
Called “Bionic Eye,” the app helps people with sight impairment to detect stairways and other obstacles in short range. The user feels vibrations on his belt that indicate a potential danger, enabling a quick response.
The app also enables faster navigation to desired destinations following voice commands by visually impaired users. Locations are sent from one’s smartphone to the Cloud. The best path is calculated and the user is then able to navigate directions through belt vibrations.
According to the World Health Organization 2019 statistics, there are at least 2.2 billion people worldwide with vision impairment or blindness. The majority of these people are over 50 years old.
The Technion, located in Haifa, is a science and technology research university. It is ranked among the top ten universities worldwide and seeks to help “all of humanity” through its research and innovation.