New AI-powered backpack can show the path to the visually impaired

Most visually impaired people take the help of stick or guide dogs to go out. There are many tools available that show the way by giving haptic feedback but most have not proved to be a very good option.

The new solution has emerged as a backpack with Intel's Artificial Intelligence (AI) software, processors and concealed cameras. This backpack can detect and indicate what is in front of it in real time.

Computer vision engineer prepared the system

The system is designed by Computer Vision Engineer Jagdish K Mahendran of the University of Georgia. It has to wear a vest, a backpack, a Bluetooth earpiece and a fanny pack user.

A laptop is available for data processing in this backpack, while the vest is equipped with cameras with the help of which visual data is recorded and processed later.

The battery in the fanny pack can power this entire system for up to eight hours.

System can identify road signs and moving objects

Spatial AI cameras can be integrated into the vest or fanny pack. With the help of three small holes, the camera can see around the user.

Mahendran has explained that the depth data of the spatial camera, together with the visual data, identifies moving objects, the changes occurring in them, and the hanging objects. With an Intel Movidius chip, the system recognizes cars, road signs, and more.

Bluetooth earpiece will give voice alerts to the user

If any obstruction will detected in the way then the information about the obstruction and change in position will be given to the user through the Bluetooth earpiece. With this earpiece, the user will be able to control the system by giving voice commands.

A GPS module has been provided in the system, using which the user will also be able to set landmarks for selected points. The system can also detect the distance of a place from a landmark.

The team is raising funds for testing.

Mahendran told PCMag that he has formed a team named Mira for the mission to make the open-source AI-powered visual assistance system available for free.

He said that his team is still raising funds for the initial testing.

Of course, this concept has been shown as a prototype, but it will still take a long time to prepare the final product, so that visually impaired users can operate it easily.

Mahendran's team has received the award

Mahendran's backpack system prototype received a $3,000 grand prize last year in the Open CV Spatial AI competition sponsored by Intel.

Mahendran said that after meeting one of his visually impaired friends, he realized that for a long time, he has been working to make machine vision for robots, while such people need more vision. After this Mahendran started working on the AI backpack system.