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7
Indoor Navigation Challenges
forVisually Impaired People
M. Beatrice Dias
Ermine A. Teves
George J. Zimmerman
Hend K. Gedawy
Sarah M. Belousov
M. Bernardine Dias
CONTENTS
7.1 Introduction ................................................................................................ 143
7.2 Orientation and Mobility for People Who Are Blind or Visually
Impaired ...................................................................................................... 144
7.2.1 History ............................................................................................. 145
7.2.2 Sequence of Instruction and Familiarization ............................ 146
7.2.3 Technology and O&M ................................................................... 146
7.3 Related Work .............................................................................................. 147
7.4 Needs Assessment Methods .................................................................... 149
7.4.1 Participants ..................................................................................... 149
7.4.2 Data Collection ............................................................................... 149
7.4.2.1 Phase 1 .............................................................................. 149
7.4.2.2 Phase 2 .............................................................................. 150
7.4.2.3 Phase 3 .............................................................................. 150
7.4.2.4 Phase 4 .............................................................................. 151
7.5 Needs Assessment Findings .................................................................... 151
7.5.1 Indoor Orientation and Location Identication Techniques ... 151
7.5.2 Indoor Navigation Techniques .................................................... 151
7.5.3 Waynding Maps ...........................................................................153
7.5.4 Technology Use .............................................................................. 154
7.5.5 Technology Preferences ................................................................ 156
7.5.5.1 Technology Input Mode ................................................. 156
7.5.5.2 Technology Output Mode ..............................................156
7.5.5.3 Customizations ................................................................ 157
142 Indoor Wayfinding and Navigation
Abstract: The ability to independently navigate urban environments is a fun-
damental necessity for all of us. While outdoor navigation is a long-stud-
ied and well-established area of research that has yielded many practical
solutions, analogous solutions for navigating indoor environments are still
relatively sparse. The problem of indoor navigation is further complicated
for those who have visual impairments. Visual impairments can range from
partial blindness to severe visual impairment. People who are visually
impaired must use a variety of techniques to familiarize themselves with
new environments, to orient themselves within an unfamiliar environment,
and to navigate an environment to move between points of interest. While
white canes and guide dogs can assist people who are visually impaired
with obstacle avoidance and some aspects of safe passage, many of the chal-
lenges faced by these individuals when navigating unfamiliar indoor envi-
ronments remain unsolved. Perhaps the most critical need is for tools that
can alert visually impaired people during dangerous situations and safely
guide them during emergency evacuations. As a result of these challenges,
people with visual impairments have to rely on sighted people when they
need to visit an unfamiliar location and are often limited to visiting a few
familiar places.
From a technical perspective, solutions for people with visual impair-
ments require a higher level of accuracy in terms of localization and obstacle
or hazard avoidance, customized path-planning algorithms that take into
account preferences and landmarks accessible to visually impaired people,
and user interfaces that are both accessible and customizable. To develop
mobility aids or devices that most effectively serve the navigation needs and
preferences of people who are visually impaired, researchers and technolo-
gists must better understand the nature, scope, complexity, and diversity
of the challenges faced by people with visual impairments and the current
navigation methods they employ. Toward this end, this chapter outlines the
needs and challenges for indoor waynding and navigation faced by indi-
viduals who are visually impaired. This chapter is based on ndings from
several years of needs assessment conducted with relevant experts and peo-
ple who are visually impaired.
7.5.6 Barriers to Technology Adoption ................................................ 157
7.5.7 Emergency Evacuation ..................................................................158
7.5.7.1 Preparedness and Prior Knowledge ............................158
7.5.7.2 Technology Use ...............................................................159
7.5.8 Perspectives of Building Managers .............................................159
7.6 Conclusions and Future Research ........................................................... 160
Acknowledgments .............................................................................................. 162
References .............................................................................................................163

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