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Day-to-day activities such as navigation and reading can be particularly challenging for people with visual impairments. Reading text on signs may be especially difficult for people who are visually impaired because signs have variable color, contrast, and size. Indoors, signage may include office, classroom, restroom, and fire evacuation signs. Outdoors, they may include street signs, bus numbers, and store signs. Depending on the level of visual impairment, just identifying where signs exist can be a challenge. Using Microsoft’s HoloLens, an augmented reality device, I designed and implemented the TextSpotting application that helps those with low vision identify and read indoor signs so that they can navigate text-heavy environments. The application can provide both visual information and auditory information. In addition to developing the application, I conducted a user study to test its effectiveness. Participants were asked to find a room in an unfamiliar hallway. Those that used the TextSpotting application completed the task less quickly yet reported higher levels of ease, comfort, and confidence, indicating the application’s limitations and potential in providing an effective means to navigate unknown environments via signage.
Senior Honors Thesis. Advisor: Emily Cooper and Wojciech Jarosz
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Jonathan L. Huang, "A HoloLens Application to Aid People who are Visually Impaired in Navigation Tasks." Dartmouth Computer Science Technical Report TR2017-821, May 2017.
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