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Smartphone-Based Inertial Odometry for Blind Walkers

Sensors (Basel). 2021 Jun 11;21(12):4033. doi: 10.3390/s21124033.


Pedestrian tracking systems implemented in regular smartphones may provide a convenient mechanism for wayfinding and backtracking for people who are blind. However, virtually all existing studies only considered sighted participants, whose gait pattern may be different from that of blind walkers using a long cane or a dog guide. In this contribution, we present a comparative assessment of several algorithms using inertial sensors for pedestrian tracking, as applied to data from WeAllWalk, the only published inertial sensor dataset collected indoors from blind walkers. We consider two situations of interest. In the first situation, a map of the building is not available, in which case we assume that users walk in a network of corridors intersecting at 45° or 90°. We propose a new two-stage turn detector that, combined with an LSTM-based step counter, can robustly reconstruct the path traversed. We compare this with RoNIN, a state-of-the-art algorithm based on deep learning. In the second situation, a map is available, which provides a strong prior on the possible trajectories. For these situations, we experiment with particle filtering, with an additional clustering stage based on mean shift. Our results highlight the importance of training and testing inertial odometry systems for assisted navigation with data from blind walkers.

PMID:34208112 | PMC:PMC8230905 | DOI:10.3390/s21124033

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