Date of Award
Master of Science in Engineering
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Dr. Koorosh Naghshineh
Dr. Richard Meyer
Dr. Dae Kim
Dr. Robert Wall Emerson
White cane, blind pedestrian, surface preview, texture discrimination, drop-off detection
Masters Thesis-Open Access
The white cane is the primary navigation tool used by many blind pedestrians, but the basic design of the cane has not changed since the 1940s. A greater understanding of the factors affecting cane performance is essential in improving the design and performance of these canes. One aspect of performance is surface texture discrimination. A study is performed to determine the effect of cane rigidity and cane swipe speed on the ability of a user to select the rougher of two surfaces with different textures. Two methods are developed to select the rougher surface using only the measured cane vibration. The first method makes a selection using the change in frequency of high amplitude acceleration peaks caused by the interaction of the cane tip and the surface, the second method uses the overall amplitude of vibration to make a selection. Both methods correctly predict the rougher surface at the same rate as the participants in the study. This shows that changes in both frequency and amplitude may be important cues for texture discrimination. A pilot study is also performed to investigate the use of vibration cues for the detection of drop-offs in the walking surface.
Dean, "Investigation of Measured Cane Vibrations for Prediction of Blind Pedestrian Performance in Surface Preview Tasks" (2017). Master's Theses. 1132.