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Computer Vision System for the Blind Veteran

This study has been completed.
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
VA Office of Research and Development Identifier:
First received: June 11, 2009
Last updated: December 18, 2015
Last verified: December 2015
This is a feasibility study involving a small number of blind subject to evaluate the effectiveness of using a software and associated hardware components to assist the blind in identifying and locating objects of interests and to assist in way finding tasks. After the system has been successfully tested by the blindfolded engineers, it will be evaluated in a small number of blind subjects.

Condition Intervention Phase
Device: initial system
Device: modified system
Phase 1

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Non-Randomized
Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Open Label
Primary Purpose: Supportive Care
Official Title: Computer Vision System for the Blind Veteran

Further study details as provided by VA Office of Research and Development:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Frequency of Device Failures Per Attempt to Complete a Navigation Course [ Time Frame: The subject is given as much time as needed to complete the task ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
    device failures were defined as any failure to provide correct location and direction information at thre appropriate time, resulting in a mistake that needed the initial prototype's ability to meet their travel needs at a good to excellent range.

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Ability to Meet the Subjective Travel Needs of the Blind Subject [ Time Frame: no time limit ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
    This is a subjective rating that incorporates user friendliness of the system and the specific needs of the subject. The subject is asked to rate whether the device meets his or her travel needs on a 1 to 7 scale with 1 being excellent and 7 being very poor.

Enrollment: 16
Study Start Date: November 2011
Study Completion Date: September 2015
Primary Completion Date: December 2013 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: Arm 1 initial system

8 blind subjects are asked to use a prototype computer vision system to determine the challenges facing computer vision based indoor navigation.

Subjects are asked to travel through the hallways of a large hospital from the front entrance to a side entrance. The pathway consists of 9 segments including corners, four-way intersections, and doorways, and the total length of the route was approximately 200 meters. This challenging route was designed to stress the capabilities of the navigation system. It is a route that even sighted persons may find difficult to follow without practice. Pedestrian traffic was present throughout the route and lighting conditions could change in two of the segments where there were windows and doors.

Device: initial system
The computer vision system is used to assist blind subject to navigate an extended path with multiple turns within a hospital setting.The initial prototype system would have been successfully tested for outdoor navigation and basic object recognition tasks.
Experimental: Arm 2 modified system
The system is redesigned in response to problems identified from the first phase of the study. The redesigned system is tested by a second set of 8 blind subjects in the same indoor path as used in Arm 1.
Device: modified system
The problems associated with the initial system were identified and modified. This modified system was tested with a second separate group of subjects. The redesigned system is used to assist blind subject to navigate the same extended path with multiple turns within a hospital setting.

Detailed Description:
This is primarily an engineering project to develop computer vision algorithms for an integrated system comprising of a laptop computer, webcam, gps, digital compass, microphone, and stereo earphones. The system will be voice controlled. The algorithm will be trained to identify and located objects and navigationally landmarks in real-time, previously selected by sighted developers. After the system has passed objective engineering milestones, blind subjects will be tested to determine whether the novel system will improve the ability of the blind to travel over a test course in a hospital setting.

Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 80 Years   (Adult, Senior)
Genders Eligible for Study:   Both
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • age 18 and over
  • legally blind

Exclusion Criteria:

  • decreased hearing
  • unable to understand or follow instructions
  • inability to walk and stand for 10 minutes
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00920231

United States, Georgia
Atlanta VA Medical and Rehab Center, Decatur
Decatur, Georgia, United States, 30033
United States, Maryland
Baltimore VA Medical Center VA Maryland Health Care System, Baltimore, MD
Baltimore, Maryland, United States, 21201
Sponsors and Collaborators
VA Office of Research and Development
Principal Investigator: Cha-Min Tang, PhD MD Baltimore VA Medical Center VA Maryland Health Care System, Baltimore, MD
  More Information

Responsible Party: VA Office of Research and Development Identifier: NCT00920231     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: C6731-R 
Study First Received: June 11, 2009
Results First Received: January 14, 2015
Last Updated: December 18, 2015
Health Authority: United States: Federal Government

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Vision Disorders
Sensation Disorders
Neurologic Manifestations
Nervous System Diseases
Eye Diseases
Signs and Symptoms processed this record on October 27, 2016