Kinect hack designed to help blind people navigate

Kinect: it’s not just for triggering nuclear armageddon! Aaaaand I just found Kinect’s new slogan.

Anyway, a pair of grad students at the University of Konstanz in Germany have developed a clever-clogs hack for Kinect that can help blind people navigate their environment. Admittedly, it’s a bit bulky at the moment – the user needs to wear a laptop in a rucksack on their back – but these guys get a gold star for innovation.

The ‘NAVI’ (that’s ‘Navigational Aids for the Visually Impaired’) mod involves connecting a Kinect unit to a helmet which is in turn tethered to the aforementioned laptop, linked with a Bluetooth headset and a vibrotactile Ardunio-controlled belt. Still with them? No, me neither.

The end result can be witnessed in the video demonstration below: the Kinect camera’s infra-red tech senses when a wall or door is coming up, and provides verbal warnings and directions. I’m amazed nobody already thought of this, but there you go.

[Via Slashgear]

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