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Visually impaired, bus identification system



Many commercial products developed allow those with disabilities to substantially improve their quality of life.The use of these devices allows the user to experience the freedom of certain aspects of life such as mobility, communication and other fundamental tasks. Examples of such solutions include cochlear implants, prosthetic limbs and text-to-speech devices. The BEACON follows in this same spirit, by providing visually impaired persons (VIPs) the freedom to independently commute via public bus transportation.

Through the use of BEACON transmitters placed on local buses, VIPs are able to safely catch buses with the aid of a portable hand held device and an audio and tactile interface. The wireless communication system between the transmitter and the portable receiver can be achieved through a number of current technologies. With more exotic approaches like Bluetooth still maturing in terms of financial and performance viability, the cheaper and more ubiquitous approach of radio frequency technology points towards a more feasible solution that can be produced at a reasonable cost for either the direct purchase by VIPs or a government subsidised initiative.

With the aid of the current bus transportation system, the BEACON transmitter is able to filter existing vehicle identification information for retransmission to a nearby VIP. The BEACON receiver is thus able to identify buses and their corresponding routes, and consequently inform the VIP of the bus‘ imminent arrival.

For the purposes of the BEACON prototype, communication is facilitated through FM transmissions at around 90MHz (within the commercial FM broadcast range). In addition, the solution attempts to resolve the problem through one-way communication from bus transmitterto handheld receiver. This project has the potential for vast improvement by implementing a duplex communication system, whereby the bus driver is able to identify the presence of VIPs and vice versa. In this way, the process of catching a bus can be further streamlined for efficiency, convenience and safety.

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