The development of sensor-actuator systems that can provide the user with perception of the environment without any use of the eyes is a difficult task. Firstly, the sensors must work effectively under differing conditions. Secondly, the actuators (or auditory feedback) must present the environmental information to the user in a manner that is easy to understand. Thirdly, the whole system needs to be compact, efficient and robust to be practical for a blind person to use. This paper firstly reviews current research in the area of substitute vision systems and discusses their limitations. We then provide details of the substitute vision system that we have developed that is not only aimed at overcoming many of the limitations of existing substitute vision systems, but is also intended to provide the user with more comprehensive perception of the environment. This is achieved by using a combination of range and colour sensors and by delivering the environmental information to the user via electro-tactile feedback in a form that is easy for the user to understand. We provide details of the development of our Electro Neural-Vision System (ENVS) as well as the results we have achieved with various range and colour sensors.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/kward/13/