Practical Project 2: Giving sight to the blind appetizer

Practical Project #2 Giving sight to the blind

In this project, I’m going to take a project that I’ve already done and already works and transition it to a different platform in a more generic way and take you fine readers along for the ride.  A while ago, I worked with Google on their Giving Through Glass project and one of the projects I worked on was to give sight to the blind.  I worked with Classroom Champions and an amazing Paralympic athlete named Lex.  Lex is a blind long jumper who lives and trains in San Diego.  I’ve worked with him for the last year or so on creating an application for Google Glass that would allow him to hear the world around him via an app that translates the images from the camera into sin wave sounds.
As cool as that project is, there’s plenty of people out there that are similarly blind, like Lex.  And it is now impossible to get the same hardware as Google is no longer selling consumer Glass devices.  So I thought it time to bring this project to other android devices and see if we can’t make it more generic along with a project to help the world give sight to the blind.  Also, a lot has changed in the short time since I last worked on this project, and it’s a great opportune time to work on migrating it from depending upon OpenCV to working with FastCV from Qualcomm as well as the Qualcomm math libraries.
The source code for this project lives in my github directory: https://github.com/gpx1000/gpxblog-blindSight.  The original codebase for the Glass project is at: https://github.com/gpx1000/LexApp.

This blog post is intentionally short as this is a work in progress, and thus meant to only wet the appetite of the reader.  Next time, I’ll outline the hardware required, and then explain how to put it together.  At a minimum, one would need: 1 camera, pair of headphones, project board (probably a 410c), and a battery.  I’ll also note that a major problem with Google’s Glass is that it runs out of batteries fast when using this app.  So I’m going to do some testing with various types of hardware to figure out how to give an end user a full day using this application.
Also, because the Glass version runs out of batteries so fast, it includes indoor positioning code that works off of bluetooth BLE beacons and traversing via RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indicator to approximate position indoors with GPS outdoors).  To keep the same functionality the hardware will need to have a GPS receiver and bluetooth dongle.  Next time we’ll dive into which ones I settled on, the cost and how to build it all.


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