Obstacle detection for visually impaired people


The Walkassist is a smart shoe developed by an austrian start-up called Tec-Innovation to enhance visually impaired peoples quality of life. The built-in warning system uses ultrasonic distance sensors to warn users of obstacles like steps, curbs or other people. If an obstacle is detected, the user is alerted using acoustic or vibration signals. The objective of this project is to exploit additional visual information to support the ultrasonic based system. A camera based system placed on top of the toe-cap in combination with computer vision methods are used to detect obstacles and segment the walkable area, respectively.


The follow-up project to the walkassist project, S4VI (street-view for the visually impaired), continues where the walkassist project left off. In this project the created labels for walkable/non-walkable areas are taken and a projection for a map-layer is created. This projection is then geo-referenced so that it can be used and viewed on top of a GIS system.

The objective of this project is to process and save the previously created labels in an easier to use way for the end-user.

                      (1)                                                    (2)                                             (3)

f.l.t.r.: (1) geo-referencing of created projection of walkable (green) and non-walkable (red) labels, (2) label map-layer viewed on top of Open StreetMap Layer, (3) label map-layer viewed on top of satellite imagery

(click to enlarge)

An Alpha preview of the label map-layer on top of satellite imagery can be viewed in Mapbox Studios.

Project Team
Dominik Hirner
Dipl.-Ing. BSc
David Schinagl
Dipl.-Ing. BSc
Friedrich Fraundorfer
Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn.