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Applied Bionics and Biomechanics
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 479857, 16 pages
Research Article

A Navigation System for the Visually Impaired: A Fusion of Vision and Depth Sensor

1Department of Computer Science, Lahore College for Women University, Jail Road, Lahore 54000, Pakistan
2Computer Engineering Department, Ankara University, Gölbaşı, 06830 Ankara, Turkey
3Department of Literature, Film and Theater Studies, University of Essex, Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ, UK
4School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering, University of Essex, Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ, UK

Received 25 March 2015; Revised 15 July 2015; Accepted 29 July 2015

Academic Editor: Stefano Zaffagnini

Copyright © 2015 Nadia Kanwal et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


For a number of years, scientists have been trying to develop aids that can make visually impaired people more independent and aware of their surroundings. Computer-based automatic navigation tools are one example of this, motivated by the increasing miniaturization of electronics and the improvement in processing power and sensing capabilities. This paper presents a complete navigation system based on low cost and physically unobtrusive sensors such as a camera and an infrared sensor. The system is based around corners and depth values from Kinect’s infrared sensor. Obstacles are found in images from a camera using corner detection, while input from the depth sensor provides the corresponding distance. The combination is both efficient and robust. The system not only identifies hurdles but also suggests a safe path (if available) to the left or right side and tells the user to stop, move left, or move right. The system has been tested in real time by both blindfolded and blind people at different indoor and outdoor locations, demonstrating that it operates adequately.