PUSULAL: A Compass for Aiding Blinds in Shopping Centers

PUSULAL: A Compass to Aid the Visually Impaired in Shopping Centres

Involved Faculty:
Dr. Rusen Oktem (Project Coordinator), Dr. Elif Uray Aydin, Dr. Nergiz Cagiltay

Researchers:
Zeynep Dincer, Mustafa Kilincarslan, Mehmet Ilhami Safran

Sponsor:
TUBITAK

Abstract
Just like in many parts of the world, our country lacks of extensive and high-tech special equipment for integrating disabled people to the society. Disabled people have difficulties in navigating through unknown or fast changing environments. Navigation problem of disabled people is a big obstacle for them to access many services provided to the society and to use their individual rights. In this work, a navigation aid for directing visually impaired people in a shopping centre is considered. Visually impaired people have big difficulties in finding their way to the desired aisle, the product they would like to buy, or in accessing the information about the product. There does not exist any practical system neither in our country nor abroad, for aiding those people in the shopping centre.

PUSULAL is an integrated navigation and information access system which enables fast and easily navigation of visually impaired people through aisles of a shopping centre and access the information about products. The navigation system incorporates a novel compass design, RFID tags, and wireless network to direct the user to the desired location in a building. The information access system includes a camera to read bar codes of a product and wireless communication to inquire infromation about that product through the bar code from the centre’s database. PUSULAL differs from existing projects in that field in terms of usability and cost.

In this work, a prototype will be developed and a pilot application showing the proof of concept will be executed. This pilot application can later be extended to cover larger shopping centers and even libraries, schools, state buildings and such. Alti Nokta Körler Dernegi and a small retail store will corporate in that project for usability and tests.