From just one photo, an iPhone app created by a group of engineering students at the University of Windsor can tell the user who the person is, as well as distinguish the person’s moods.
Gagandeep Dulay, one of the creators of the yet-to-be-named face-recognition app, hopes his idea can help the visually impaired detect happy, sad, neutral, angry or surprised emotions on the face of the person they are interacting with.
Initially, Dulay and four other students from the university were given the task of enhancing a cane as part of their fourth year project, but the group wasn’t satisfied with just adding sensors to the cane. They decided to create another device after one of their teammates reached out to a visually impaired society in Windsor.
“The thing they made very clear was that the cane was something they were very comfortable with, and if we wanted to build something, make sure it’s a brand new technology, something that could assist the cane or possibly replace the cane,” he said.
Dulay worked with Samer Toukan to create the app while Mazin Sidahmed, Easa Ahmadzai and Ali Atris focused their efforts on creating a device that would help blind people navigate objects around them.
The resulting product is an object detection belt that’s adapted from a Microsoft Kinect, used with Xbox 360 video games. Relying on its infrared sensors, once strapped on, the belt vibrates on the user’s left, centre or right to warn them of objects in front of them.
At 1.5 metres, the belt is set to give off a light buzz to notify the user something’s in the way, and at 40 cm, the belt gives off intense buzzes to alert users to move away immediately.
Watch video to see how the iPhone app works.
Costing roughly $700 to develop, both the app and belt are owned by the university and will be further refined by students next year.
Dulay said they’re looking at integrating the two devices so the belt can do actual audio and speech notification via the iPhone.
“We’ve been demo-ing it for the last three weeks to faculty and staff …and just seeing their reactions, it was so rewarding,” said Dulay, after their projects were showcased at a university open house recently. “We feel like this product can very well be commercialized.”