Tunisian researchers develop a smart system that helps blind people "see"

Tunisian researchers develop a smart system that helps blind people "see" The team of researchers and engineers is working - before commercializing this innovation - to develop the algorithms used to enable greater coverage, provide the blind with more accurate data about the surrounding objects and make them look as if they see.  A team of Tunisian researchers and engineers have created a smart system to help the blind navigate through glasses equipped with cameras that use artificial intelligence to process video images and convert them into audio signals, providing the user with detailed data on the nature of the things around him.  The researchers expect that this innovation in its final form will provide accurate and sufficient information, enabling the blind group to lead their lives almost normally.  Sight through hearing In an exclusive interview with Al-Jazeera Net, Professor Abdel-Razzaq Al-Hachani, the technological lecturer at the Higher School of Technology and Engineering in Tunis, said, "The innovative system was implemented within the framework of one of the integrated applied projects implemented by engineering students in the final years, to create technical solutions that are feasible and have the nature of technological innovation. ".  The head of the research team on the Internet of Things and RFID technologies at the school adds, “Most of the innovations that concern the visually impaired are focused on developing a white stick that enables them to identify their narrow surroundings only, and its range does not exceed one meter. Therefore, Our goal was to work on a technical solution that helps blind people navigate as independently as possible, by providing data about the physical objects around them.”  The main idea of ​​the project, according to the speaker, was to design a system that would make this class "see through hearing". This system consists of smart glasses equipped with cameras to capture video images of the place surrounding the user, then process them to convert them into an audio signal that is transmitted to him through headphones and helps him move through this space without risks.  Algorithms convert image to sound The main challenge faced by the team was how to convert image content into audio information, a technology that is currently available, without resorting to the use of heavy and expensive processing devices. “This process requires large computational resources and processing speed to be feasible,” says Al-Hachani.  The team used the smartphone to process images, and succeeded in developing new algorithms that are able to classify the objects that may be in the ocean according to their nature (human, animal, car, tree...), and then convert a set of data around them into audio signals that the user receives in just two seconds. .  The smart system also included an ultrasonic bracelet placed on the wrist of the blind user, to identify objects very close to him, and it is equipped with a device to measure the acceleration of hand movement that enables sending an alarm - when falling or endangering - to an emergency center, for example, with identification person's location.  The results of testing the prototype of the new system showed encouraging results in terms of its performance in identifying the objects surrounding the user, by processing the images taken by the glasses and then converting them into audio signals through headphones placed in the ear.  The team is working on developing algorithms for the system to provide the blind with more and more accurate information about their surroundings and make them look like they can see (Getty Images) In a second stage, "the team of researchers and engineers will work - before marketing this innovation - to develop the algorithms used to be able to cover the largest possible number of classifications, and provide the blind with more accurate data about the surrounding objects, and make them look as if they see," according to Tunisian researcher Abdel Razzaq. Al Hashani.  It is noteworthy that the research team that accomplished this innovation included, in addition to El-Hachani, Professor Radwan Messaoudi, in addition to 6 engineering students at the Higher School of Technology and Engineering in Tunis, and had previously accomplished a number of innovations that received great attention, including the design of a robot that distributes food in restaurants and a smart system Help Alzheimer's patients take medication.

The team of researchers and engineers is working - before commercializing this innovation - to develop the algorithms used to enable greater coverage, provide the blind with more accurate data about the surrounding objects and make them look as if they see.

A team of Tunisian researchers and engineers have created a smart system to help the blind navigate through glasses equipped with cameras that use artificial intelligence to process video images and convert them into audio signals, providing the user with detailed data on the nature of the things around him.

The researchers expect that this innovation in its final form will provide accurate and sufficient information, enabling the blind group to lead their lives almost normally.

Sight through hearing
In an exclusive interview with Al-Jazeera Net, Professor Abdel-Razzaq Al-Hachani, the technological lecturer at the Higher School of Technology and Engineering in Tunis, said, "The innovative system was implemented within the framework of one of the integrated applied projects implemented by engineering students in the final years, to create technical solutions that are feasible and have the nature of technological innovation. ".

The head of the research team on the Internet of Things and RFID technologies at the school adds, “Most of the innovations that concern the visually impaired are focused on developing a white stick that enables them to identify their narrow surroundings only, and its range does not exceed one meter. Therefore, Our goal was to work on a technical solution that helps blind people navigate as independently as possible, by providing data about the physical objects around them.”

The main idea of ​​the project, according to the speaker, was to design a system that would make this class "see through hearing". This system consists of smart glasses equipped with cameras to capture video images of the place surrounding the user, then process them to convert them into an audio signal that is transmitted to him through headphones and helps him move through this space without risks.

Algorithms convert image to sound
The main challenge faced by the team was how to convert image content into audio information, a technology that is currently available, without resorting to the use of heavy and expensive processing devices. “This process requires large computational resources and processing speed to be feasible,” says Al-Hachani.

The team used the smartphone to process images, and succeeded in developing new algorithms that are able to classify the objects that may be in the ocean according to their nature (human, animal, car, tree...), and then convert a set of data around them into audio signals that the user receives in just two seconds. .

The smart system also included an ultrasonic bracelet placed on the wrist of the blind user, to identify objects very close to him, and it is equipped with a device to measure the acceleration of hand movement that enables sending an alarm - when falling or endangering - to an emergency center, for example, with identification person's location.

The results of testing the prototype of the new system showed encouraging results in terms of its performance in identifying the objects surrounding the user, by processing the images taken by the glasses and then converting them into audio signals through headphones placed in the ear.

The team is working on developing algorithms for the system to provide the blind with more and more accurate information about their surroundings and make them look like they can see (Getty Images)
In a second stage, "the team of researchers and engineers will work - before marketing this innovation - to develop the algorithms used to be able to cover the largest possible number of classifications, and provide the blind with more accurate data about the surrounding objects, and make them look as if they see," according to Tunisian researcher Abdel Razzaq. Al Hashani.

It is noteworthy that the research team that accomplished this innovation included, in addition to El-Hachani, Professor Radwan Messaoudi, in addition to 6 engineering students at the Higher School of Technology and Engineering in Tunis, and had previously accomplished a number of innovations that received great attention, including the design of a robot that distributes food in restaurants and a smart system Help Alzheimer's patients take medication.
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