Kinect hack helps blind people navigate

Guide dogs beware.

A clever new Kinect hack has adapted Microsoft's hands-free gaming peripheral to help blind people navigate.

As spotted by SlashGear, the mod is called NAVI (Navigational Aids for the Visually Impaired) and is the work of University of Konstanz graduate students Michael Zöllner and Stephan Huber.

The duo have connected a Kinect unit to a helmet which is then plugged into a laptop carried in a backpack, linked to a Bluetooth headset and a vibrotactile Ardunio-controlled belt.

Thanks to the Kinect camera's infra-red tech, this set-up then offers both a verbal and tactile warning when the user approaches an obstacle in their path. On top of that, it can also offer directions and read signs thanks to ARToolKit identifiers stuck on walls. Take a look at the clip below to see the rather wonderful innovation in action.

Kinect, eh? Is there anything it can't do?

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Fred Dutton

Fred Dutton

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Fred Dutton was Eurogamer's US news editor, based in Washington DC.

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