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Project ARGUS - Second Newsletter (English)

Project ARGUS - Second Newsletter (English)

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Published by: Project ARGUS on Dec 31, 2012
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ARGUS: Assisting personal guidancesystem for people with visual impairment
Newsletter N. 2December, 2012
This second newsletter contains articles showingthe progress during the first year of the ARGUSproject.During the first six months, the main effort wasmade in the identification of requirements anddesign of the system architecture.In the second six months, the most significanteffort was made to develop a Preliminary Proof of concept prototype, which was successfullyimplemented during the summer of 2012 andtested in Paderborn (Germany) in September.The ARGUS team.
The project at a glance
Assisting personal guidance system forpeople with visual impairment
 Co-funded by EU under
 (ICT for smart and personalised inclusion)Contract No.
, End:
 Project type:
Collaboration Project
 Project status: ExecutionProject website: http://www.projectargus.eu 
ARGUS Project Newsletter 2 (December 2012)Page 2
Binaural Guidance
What is “binaural”?
Binaural sounds create the illusion that soundsproduced by stereo headphones come fromspecific directions and distances, based on theinteraural differences (arrival time and amplitudebetween the ears). This allows users perceiving3D sound positioning, which can be used to guidevisually impaired persons following a route(controlled via GNSS) giving a sense of 3Dnavigation.To understand what binaural hearing is, we mustknow how we perceive the sound from those two
“inputs”, our ears.
The sound waves with their directionality andtheir amplitude make our ear/brain system locatesounds using our two ears. We use threedifferent cues between our ears when locating asound source: level, phase and spectrum(loudness). These differences are used in theARGUS Project to generate virtual soundscreating another reality layer, corresponding tothe direction that the user must follow. Although,none of these differences acts alone, the spatiallocation depends on many factors such as sight,location awareness, experience, environment,and even the state of mind are important forsound localization.The ARGUS User Terminal incorporates anAcoustic System, which reads from the
Navigation Unit the user’s position. Its orientation
is given by the Smartphone. Using thisinformation the Acoustic System will trigger thenecessary 3D sound cues to guide the user to itsright way without blocking the ear canal.The user perceives an additional reality layer of useful information, giving all the necessary stimulito guide users naturally through a virtualpathway. Not just with a virtual 3D sound, butalso with detailed audio descriptions of Points of Interest, services, and many environmentalinformation.Users can customize the system choosing amongdifferent sounds and adjusting parameters likevolume, or speed of sound. Others will beautomatically set up depending on the usagecontext and environment. The system will self-adjust its loudness to be heard but not disturbingin any area.In addition to the navigation system an onlineservice will support in-situ routing assistance anda web-based collaborative environment includinga social network will be used.
ARGUS Project Newsletter 2 (December 2012)Page 3
User RequirementsGathering
The ARGUS project tackles a problem faced bymany people with visual impairment in gettingfrom one place to another. We wanted to checkthat the initial assumed user requirements werecorrect and if not to suggest alternatives. Asurvey was conducted using a questionnaireanswered either in a face-to-face interview oronline. There were 82 replies in total comingfrom Spain, UK, Germany, Italy and Austria.Additionally to the user requirements, use caseswere identified as well. The results of thequestionnaires were analyzed and then discussedat a user workshop at UK.The user survey of requirements showed thatthere was a need for a system, which wouldenhance the mobility and independence of blindand partially sighted people.The main points of emerging from the surveywere:
The monetary value of such device and howit should be paid for.
Users will not use ARGUS alone but as an aidto route finding.
The security and safety of such a vulnerablegroup is important.
Most beneficial when used in conjunctionwith public transport information.
The helpfulness of a sound interface had tobe validated by a Preliminary Proof of Concept test.The survey confirmed the main requirementsinitially proposed for ARGUS.
Wizard of Oz Prototype
In parallel to the user requirements, the ARGUSteam has developed a tool that allows testing thesystem setting up different parameters toconfigure the binaural sound and different UserInterface options in an easy way. The Wizard of Oz tool helps to validate requirements, and canbe also tested to train test subjects.

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