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3 2 1 eyeHelp: Shopping Assistant for the Blind and Visually Impaired Sean Morrell, University of Massachusetts Amherst Prof. Aura Ganz, University of Massachusetts Amherst Carole Wilson, Western Massachusetts Commission for the Blind Motivation
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eyeHelp: Shopping Assistant for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Sean Morrell, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Prof. Aura Ganz, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Carole Wilson, Western Massachusetts Commission for the Blind
Major obstacles are presented as the population of 11 million blind and visually impaired in the United States strives to maintain their independence. Grocery shopping is one of these obstacles and eyeHelp, a navigational shopping aid for the blind and visually impaired, is the solution. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags have become the de facto standard in inventory management in large grocery stores (e.g. Big Y). eyeHelp employs an off-the-shelf RFID enabled mobile device (e.g. PDA) which enables the user to interact with this environment and obtain an understanding of his/her surroundings. The system is able to audibly portray, via Text-to-Speech software, the user’s location, navigational instruction and product information using a database collected from Big Y in Hadley, MA. Through the use of beta testers from the blind and visually impaired community in Western Massachusetts, we have been able to prove that eyeHelp is a viable solution as a navigational aid in grocery stores.
Development Phases & Progress
Phase 1 - Aisles and general item list (Complete Awaiting Test)
Phase 2 - Aisle resolution with simple routing (Complete Awaiting Test)
Phase 3 – Shopping list integration with enhanced routing
Note: Using phased development allowed us to identify and correct errors more efficiently
Placed on corner of every Aisle
Embedded RFID Tag
Provides a tactile object for the user
The Research efforts have resulted in the following publications:
Conference / Journal Papers
eyeHelp: A Navigational Shopping Assistant for the Blind Undergraduate Conference, April 27, 2007
UMass Magazine, Spring 2007
By Charles Creekmore
Current and Planned Industrial Collaboration
We are currently working with Carole Wilson to properly evaluate our system from the user perspective
Through the facilitation of Susan Worgaftik at UMass we are hoping to develop a partnership with the Big Y in Hadley, MA in order to obtain an adequate site for additional testing.
This work is supported in part alumnus James M. Smith '67, and the Dean's Fund for Undergraduate Research in Engineering established in honor of Joseph I. and Barbara H. Goldstein.
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors.