IBM's brings LineChaser app to help visually disabled users stand in socially distanced lines
After the spread of Coronavirus, mask-wearing and social distancing has become a norm among people. People with disabilities may have difficulty observing social distancing in public places. So a team of researchers from IBM have come up with a new application – LineChaser which leverages AI to help visually impaired people maintain a safe distance from others around them.
Using software information has been captured by the device’s RGB and infrared depth sensors, to keep track of people in their surroundings – the former is used to detect people nearby, while the infrared sensor is used to measure their distance from the user.
According to the IBM researcher Hironobu Takagi, the app was tested on participants with various disabilities and helped all of them successfully managed to reach the end of a line, while visually impaired users were able to stop at an ‘acceptable position’ 91.7 percent of the time if they were following a line. Takagi also said that participants in the trial gave the system a high usability score, while reporting higher confidence and comfortableness when they were standing in line.
“We hope that more visually impaired people can benefit from our technology. We also hope that with time, the social acceptance of the use of camera devices in public spaces will improve. We found the acceptance was already high if a blind person used a device for assistive purposes, but we think that as a society, we need to improve our understanding of such technologies,” Takagi said.
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