PERCEPT Project

Indoor Wayfinding

For Blind & Visually Impaired

WATCH PERCEPT VIDEO

BACKGROUND

Independent navigation through unfamiliar indoor spaces is beset with barriers for Blind and Visually Impaired (BVI) users. A task that is trivial and spontaneous for the visioned population has to be planned and coordinated with other individuals for BVI users. Although many improvements and aides are available to assist the visually impaired to lead an independent life, there has yet remain to be a challenge to develop a system that combines independence with scalability and affordability of indoor navigation.

PERCEPT system developed and tested at the University of Massachusetts 5G Mobile Evolution Lab was developed with the cooperation of the Massachusetts Orientation and Mobility division from Massachusetts Commission for the Blind. PERCEPT generates landmark based navigation instructions automatically for a specific indoor environment. To the best of our knowledge, PERCEPT is the only indoor navigation system for BVI users that can generate navigation instructions automatically. Bluetooth Low Energy tags are deployed at strategic locations in the indoor environment. Using a Smartphone based PERCEPT app (in both the iPhone and Android) the user will receive audial navigation instructions to the chosen destination within the building. The user seamlessly interacts with the environment and the app vision free user interface.

PERCEPT will enhance the quality of life of blind and visually impaired users by enabling them to independently navigate through indoor environments. Such independent navigation will enhance their opportunities such as working, attending medical appointments, and leisure activities.

PERCEPT underwent a number of usability studies with blind and visually impaired participants at the University of Massachusetts, Carroll Center for the Blind and Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) North Station Subway and Commuter Line stations.

The study results:

  • All participants have been able to use PERCEPT to independently navigate North Station Subway.
  • All participants reported PERCEPT was user friendly and easy to learn.
  • All participants would use PERCEPT if available in the MBTA


FEATURES

Real-Time Navigation

Receive detailed navigation instructions and orientation information from anywhere within the venue

Accessibility First

Designed from ground up to be accessible for the blind and visually impaired

User Tested

Extensive usability studies with blind and visually impaired community has shaped every aspect of the system

Never Lost

Some venues are complex, but no matter where you are, PERCEPT can get you back on track

Independence

Have the confidence to travel in unfamiliar settings, knowing PERCEPT is there to assist you at any point

Collaboration with Orientation and Mobility Specialists

Collaborated with Orientation and Mobility Specialists to ensure the navigation instructions follow best orientation and mobility practices

PERCEPT News

  • Presentation at the Massachusetts Community Transportation Coordination Conference (Worcester, MA, May 2017)
  • Papers at the International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies for Ageing Well and e-Health (Porto, Portugal, April 2017)
  • Prof. Ganz Presents at International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference (CSUN) 2016 "
  • 5G Labs Demonstrates PERCEPT to ATI Conference Attendees (August 25th, 2015)
  • PERCEPT Headlines Boston Globe Health Section (December 22nd, 2014)
  • PERCEPT Featured in Easter Seals Crossroads Assistive Technology Update (April 4, 2014)
  • PERCEPT Video Featured in UMass Next Research '14 (March 22, 2014)
  • PERCEPT in Boston Globe (March 16, 2014)
  • Electronic Navigation System for Visually Impaired at MBTA Station to be Installed by Engineer Aura Ganz (March 2, 2014)
  • 5G Lab Featured in Research Next Article - Underground PERCEPTion (Feb 25, 2014)
  • Ganz to Install Electronic Navigation System for Visually Impaired in MBTA (Feb 24, 2014)
  • UMass Engineers Develop System to Aid Visually Impaired (Jan 30, 2014)
  • Professor Ganz met with president of World Blind Union (WBU), Mr. Arnt Holte (July 2013)
  • 5G Lab Featured in Research Next Article - Visionary Eye (April 2013)
  • Testimonials of PERCEPT Trial Participants (Feb 2, 2012)
  • 5G Labs Presents at NEAER Conference in Newport RI (Nov)
  • PERCEPT at White Cane Event at State House (Oct 15th)
  • 5G Labs at Change People's Lives Conference (Sept 23rd)
  • 5G Labs at EMBC 2011 Conference (Sept 3rd)
  • Daily Colegian (Feb 13, 2011)
  • GazetteNet (January 2011)
  • PHYSORG (Dec 16, 2010)
  • ECE Dept News (Nov 2010)


PERCEPT Publications

  • H. Dong, A. Ganz, "Cost Efficient Virtual Environment Generation Framework Using Annotated Panoramic Videos", IEEE Access Journal, 2019, Print ISSN: 2169-3536, Online ISSN: 2169-3536,Digital Object Identifier: 10.1109/ACCESS.2019.2937877.
  • Z. Yang, A. Ganz, "A Sensing Framework for Indoor Spatial Awareness for Blind and Visually Impaired Users", IEEE Access Journal, 2018. Print ISSN: 2169-3536 Online ISSN: 2169-3536, Digital Object Identifier: 10.1109/ACCESS.2018.2886308.
  • Z. Yang, M. F. Duarte, A. Ganz, “A Novel Crowd-resilient Visual Localization Algorithm via Robust PCA Background Extraction”, IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, April 2018.
  • A. Ganz, J. Schafer, Y. Tao, Z. Yang, C. Sanderson, L. Haile, "PERCEPT Navigation for Visually Impaired in Large Transportation Hubs", Journal on Technology and Persons with Disabilities (accepted for publication), also presented at the 33th Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference, San Diego, CA, March 2018.
  • Y. Tao, L. Ding, A. Ganz, "Indoor Navigation Validation Framework for Visually Impaired Users", IEEE Access Journal, Vol 5, October 2017.
  • Z. Yang, A. Ganz, "Egocentric Landmark-Based Indoor Guidance System for the Visually Impaired", International Journal of E-Health and Medical Communications, Vol. 8, Issue 3, 2017.
  • Y. Tao, L. Ding, S. Wang, A. Ganz, "PERCEPT Indoor Wayfinding for Blind and Visually Impaired Users: Navigation Instructions Algorithm and Validation Framework", International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies for Ageing Well and e-Health, Porto, Portugal, April 2017.
  • H. Dong, A. Ganz, "Pre-trip Training System for Seniors and People with Disabilities using Annotated Panoramic Video", International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies for Aging Well and e-Health, Porto, Portugal, April 2017.
  • S. Wang, H. Dong, J. Schafer, A. Ganz, “Virtual Reality Based Self-exploration Game for Visually Impaired Users”, 31th Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference, San Diego, CA, March 2016.
  • A. Ganz, J. Schafer, Y. Tao, L. Haile, C Sanderson, C. Wilson, M. Robertson, "PERCEPT based Interactive Wayfinding for Visually Impaired Users in Subways", International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference, San Diego, CA, March 2015.
  • A. Ganz, J. Schafer, Y. Tao, C. Wilson, M. Robertson, “PERCEPT-II: Smartphone based Indoor Navigation System for the Blind”, IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, Chicago, IL, August 2014.
  • H. Dong, A. Ganz, “Automatic Generation of Indoor Navigation Instructions for Blind Users using a User-centric Graph”, IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, Chicago, IL, August 2014.
  • Z. Yang, A . Ganz, "Reliable and User Friendly U.S Banknote Recognition Application for Visually Impaired Users on Android Smartphones," International Journal of E-Health and Medical Communications, Vol. 5, Issue 3, 2014.
  • H. Dong, J. Kang, J. Schafer, A. Ganz, "Android based Visual Tag Detection for Visually Impaired Users: System Design and Testing," International Journal of E-Health and Medical Communications, Volume 5 Issue 1, January 2014.
  • A. Ganz, J. Schafer, S. Gandhi, E. Puleo, C. Wilson, M. Robertson, "PERCEPT: Indoor Navigation System for the Blind and Visually Impaired: Architecture and Experimentation," International Journal of Telemedicine and Applications, Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 894869, doi:10.1155/2012/894869.
  • A. Ganz, J. Schafer, E. Puleo, C. Wilson, M. Robertson, "PERCEPT: Independence and Indoor Navigation in Palm of Your Hand," NE/AER Conference, Newport RI November, 2012
  • A. Ganz, J. Schafer, E. Puleo, C. Wilson,. M. Robertson, “Quantitative and Qualitative Evaluation of PERCEPT Indoor Navigation System for Visually Impaired Users”, IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, San Diego, CA, September, 2012.
  • X. Yu, and A. Ganz, “Audible Vision for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Indoor Open Spaces”, IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, San Diego, CA, September, 2012
  • A. Ganz, J. Schafer, S. Gandhi, T. Singh, C. Wilson, G. Mullett, E. Puleo, "PERCEPT: Indoor Navigation for the Blind and Visually Impaired", IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, Boston, MA, September, 2011.