VIRTUALEYEZ: DEVELOPING NFC TECHNOLOGY TO ENABLE THE VISUALLY IMPAIRED TO SHOP INDEPENDENTLY
MetadataShow full item record
A large number of people throughout the world have visual impairments that make everyday tasks difficult, ultimately reducing independence and quality of life. VirtualEyez is a low cost system that uses a mobile phone app and NFC tags to allow visually impaired people to shop independently within grocery stores. Although this system is primarily designed for visually impaired people, anyone can interact with it to obtain indoor navigation services and product information from the tags. The overall objective of the VirtualEyez system is to improve the quality of life for visually impaired people by using NFC and smartphone technologies to support navigation and product identification. The prototype tested here was designed to check product availability, generate optimal directions to that product, and provide information about it upon arrival.The VirtualEyez system was developed using a Google Nexus 7 tablet with an Android 4.3 platform, NFC tags (NTAG 203 tags), and a small database containing two tables, one containing general product information and the other containing product location information. This thesis describes a study conducted in a mock grocery store, in which sighted, blind and visually impaired participants used the VirtualEyez system to navigate through the store and locate specific products. By measuring their performance in this task and interviewing them afterwards about their experience with the system, we illustrated the effectiveness and usability of VirtualEyez and established what improvements are needed in order to develop it in to a commonly used aid for visually impaired shoppers.