Computer Vision System for the Blind Veteran

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT00920231
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : June 15, 2009
Results First Posted : April 2, 2015
Last Update Posted : January 22, 2016
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
VA Office of Research and Development

Brief Summary:
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 or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Blindness Device: initial system Device: modified system Phase 1

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.

Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 16 participants
Allocation: Non-Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Supportive Care
Official Title: Computer Vision System for the Blind Veteran
Study Start Date : November 2011
Actual Primary Completion Date : December 2013
Actual Study Completion Date : September 2015

Arm Intervention/treatment
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.

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. 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 ]
    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 :
  1. Ability to Meet the Subjective Travel Needs of the Blind Subject [ Time Frame: no time limit ]
    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.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 80 Years   (Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
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

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): 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

Responsible Party: VA Office of Research and Development Identifier: NCT00920231     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: C6731-R
First Posted: June 15, 2009    Key Record Dates
Results First Posted: April 2, 2015
Last Update Posted: January 22, 2016
Last Verified: December 2015

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Vision Disorders
Sensation Disorders
Neurologic Manifestations
Nervous System Diseases
Eye Diseases
Signs and Symptoms