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Lysa: a robot with navigation based on GPS to guide people with visual impairments

Abstract

Visual impairment or visual loss is the absence or severe and irreversible impairment of visual function, which cannot be corrected with lenses or surgery. Besides that it also interfers in the person's daily life and tasks, such as reading, socializing, driving vehicles, commuting and even walking. In 2015, there were 940 million people worldwide with some degree of visual loss, among them, about 216.6 million had moderate or severe visual impairment; 188.5 million had mild visual impairment and 36 million had total blindness, with most people with visual impairment over 50 years of age, in addition to being concentrated in developing countries. Hoping to contribute to social inclusion of people with visual impairments, we developed a project with functions similar to those of a guide dog - the Lysa robot - considering the technological innovations and Orientation and Mobility (OM) techniques. The intention was to act as a resource or provider for assistive technology. The equipment aims to help the visually impaired people in their mobility, eliminating the risk of accidents, bringing comfort and safety, providing new accessibility features. All of that is done by using GPS and other sensors, detecting obstacles in various angles and applying a voice interface to interact with the user. Currently our main target is the development of the outdoor navigation system for the Lysa robot. That will allow the robot to get the coordinates, latitude and longitude, from a previously selected location, plan a path, and guide the user safely to the final destination. Therefore, the robot must have a GPS attached to its platform and be able to access a navigation tool, such as GoogleMaps or similar, so that it can define a trajectory for the user. The Lysa robot has great potential to impact the market due to its pioneering spirit in assistive technology, providing safety and agility for the visually impaired. According to a research carried out when the project was idealized, it has good prospects for acceptance by the aimed users and the society. In addition, it will help the company become a consilidated developer of social assistance technology, highlighting the other products already developed by the team that also have great market potential. The Lysa robot will also provide a significant increase in the company's participation in the B2B and B2G segments, through which it will make the product more popular and accessible, in addition to assisting companies and government agencies in their inclusive processes for visually impaired people in different environments, such as, organizational, academic, social and professional. Finally, through this project, we expect to improve an equipment that already provides the user with autonomy, adding the ability to use a map to plan a route until a selected place, taking the user safely until an outdoors destination. (AU)

Articles published in Pesquisa FAPESP Magazine about the research grant:
Un lazarillo robot para ciegos 
A robot guide dog for the blind 
Articles published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the research grant:
Articles published in other media outlets (0 total):
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VEICULO: TITULO (DATA)
VEICULO: TITULO (DATA)

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