Design and implementation of a remote assistance application for persons with visual impairments
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Individuals who are Blind or Visually Impaired (BVI) confront numerous problems when completing regular duties or exploring new places. Getting assistance from strangers is not always desirable in such situations. With the advancement of technology, BVI individuals can utilize assistive technologies like screen readers or accessibility features on smart phones to access applications to solve some of these daily challenges, but there remain several tasks that still require some sort of human assistance. Some current approaches to provide remote assistance through video calls are either too expensive or do not employ helpers whom a BVI individual can fully trust. This work concentrates on design and implementation of a cross-platform mobile application called GuideCall that enables BVI individuals to contact a single volunteer helper through video-call interface from one of numerous pre-built situation appropriate groups of trusted individuals. Such hybrid mobile development capabilities allow both BVI and helpers to connect across a diverse array of computing systems that are typically limited to one form-factor device and/or operating system. It also includes a Helper-Guide for inexperienced volunteers, focusing on o ering e ective remote-guide methods. Evaluations based on preliminary data reveal GuideCall to be reasonably e cient in many of the daily chores that BVI residents face, potentially proving to be a cost-e ective way to receive assistance while increasing con dence in the quality and safety of the support.
Thesis (M.S.)-- Wichita State University, College of Engineering, Dept. of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science