Intelligent Material Solutions, Inc. (IMS), innovators in the field of rare-earth materials and sensor systems, announced the ongoing development of a platform for enhancing the guidance of pedestrians who are blind and visually impaired (BVI) in cities and universities using recently patented technology.
The platform uses a patented cooperative guidance system to determine precise geo-location by sensing selected markings on pavement, sidewalks and other indoor and outdoor environments.
The markings may also supply specific message content, including alerting the user to public transportation, retail entrances and exits and other location characteristics.
According to the World Health Organization, a minimum of 2.2 billion people have some form of visual impairment globally. While smartphone GPS based aid may seem like an effective guidance system, current smartphone enabled GPS worsens around trees and structures such as bridges and buildings, according to GPS.gov. IMS’ solution is network enabled and offers precise location services to aid in the guidance of pedestrians who are BVI.
“Our BVI volunteers who participated in trials in Portland and Vancouver BC were quite excited about the potential assistance that the I-Paint and cane system could provide them,” said Jonathan Fink, Director of Portland State University’s Digital City Testbed Center. “We’re just at the early stages of exploring all of the ways this technology might be used to help people navigate through complex urban environments.”
The platform’s core technology are customizable rare-earth crystals called Intelligent Material®; when embedded in paint or thermoplastics they become I-Paint™. An accompanying sensor mounted or integrated with a cane can sense I-Paint™ in key markings and help calibrate GPS for more precise guidance. Paired with a smart device, the system provides enhanced situational awareness for the user. Benefits include straight-line guidance at intersections and identification of transit stops. The system is also viable indoors for guidance in department stores and shopping malls.
IMS is working with experienced partners such as City of Tampa, Tampa Lighthouse for the Blind, Ohio State University, Ohio State School for the Blind, Portland State University (PSU) and the University of British Columbia (UBC).
Demonstrations were conducted at PSU and UBC, testing the current state of the paint and cane while simultaneously receiving feedback from BVI volunteers. I-Paint™ has also had multiple trials in Tampa, Florida. IMS looks forward to continuing with our in-field work with our current partners as well as providing demonstrations to interested parties in providing the BVI community safety and independence.
IMS is a material science and technology company that develops custom rare-earth crystals as well as accompanying or stand-alone sensors. The company has a portfolio of patents around rare-earth crystals covering devices, methods, systems and composition of matter. IMS products have applications in quantum/optical computing, life science, authentication, transportation, defense and spectroscopy.
This article was shared with Prittle Prattle News as a Press Release.