The ability to move independently is a critical component of a person’s quality of life. For many people, however, independent mobility is hampered by one or more forms of disability: motor, cognitive, or sensorial. For example, blind persons experience difficulty moving and finding their way in a previously unexplored environment, due to lack of visual access to the features that sighted persons use for self-orientation. Likewise, some wheelchair users may find it challenging or impossible to safely and reliably control their wheelchair due to poor upper limbs control or to cognitive impairment.
The main goal of this project is the development of computer vision techniques that can be used to assist both categories of users mentioned above: persons who, due to visual impairment, experience difficulty self-orienting, and persons with mobility impairment who are unable to independently control the trajectory of their motorized wheelchair. Specifically, researchers will develop technology that promotes semantic spatial awareness in manmade environments by means of direct access to printed textual information.