Development and Evaluation of Shoe-type Walking Assistive Device for Visually Impaired Person
Chang-Min Yang, Ji-Yong Jung, and Jung-Ja Kim
(Received April 5, 2017; Accepted March 5, 2018)
Keywords: infrared sensor, pressure sensor, vibrating motor, visually impaired person, walking assistive device
Generally, the walking assistive device for a visually impaired person is the white cane. The white cane has many problems such as collision and gait imbalance when walking with it. In addition, it is difficult to prepare for falls because the hand holding the white cane is not free. Therefore, in this study, we developed a shoe-type walking assistive device. The device was attached to infrared distance sensors, pressure sensors and vibrating motors in shoes. The infrared sensor detects the distance between obstacles and the shoes. The pressure sensor is attached to detect the heel strike during the gait cycle. The vibration motor changes the intensity of its vibration according to changes in the distance between the shoes and obstacles. To evaluate the effectiveness of the developed shoe-type walking assistive device, we compared the required time, number of collisions and Electromyogram (EMG) of the lower limbs of 11 visually impaired persons in walking with the white cane. The results showed that there was no significant difference in the number of collisions between the white cane and the shoe-type walking assistive device and that the required time of the shoe-type walking assistive device was larger than that of the white cane. In addition, the difference in EMG between the lower limbs when using the shoe-type walking assistive device was smaller than that when using the white cane. Therefore, the developed shoe-type walking assistive device for visually impaired people provides a lower walking velocity than the white cane. However, it can detect obstacles to a similar extent and reduce the imbalance of the user.
Corresponding author: Jung-Ja Kim