How does finding a classroom in a busy university aisle feel like for a visually impaired person? How easy it is to go through a glass circular sliding door, or avoid small stools along the way?
Dr. Kyriaki Kalimeri and Dr. Charalampos Saitis from the ISI Foundation based in Turin, Italy, extended their recent study regarding challenges faced by visually impaired persons when navigating in unknown outdoor environments, with a real-life indoor orientation and mobility task.
The study was based on ambulatory monitoring and multimodal fusion of electroencephalogram (EEG) and electrodermal activity (EDA) signals and aims to automatically predict the indoor challenge visually impaired persons face in real-time based only on their biosignal information. Eight enthusiastic volunteers with variable degrees of sight loss were asked to navigating in the University building of Reykjavik in a predefined route especially charted to include a variety of mobility situations, such as orientation in open crowded areas, stairs going down, elevator usage, round glass doors and finding particular study rooms.
Brain (EEG) and body physiological signals (such as EDA, heart rate and others) were recorded from the participants as they walked around the building by means of state-of-the-art non-invasive wearable devices, in an attempt to identify cognitive and emotional biomarkers related to stress and/or confusion. The study was carried out in collaboration with experienced orientation and mobility instructors from the National Institute for the Blind, Visually Impaired, and Deafblind of Iceland.