As human beings, we all live in a world based on visual information. Visual information is used for many functions, such as adapting to our environment, identifying objects in our environment, alerting us to significant events that require our attention, engaging in social interactions, and working efficiently in daily life. Therefore, vision loss drastically reduces the quality of life and poses a severe challenge in everyday work for millions of visually impaired individuals worldwide. It also has a significant economic impact on society. Therefore, it is not surprising that numerous approaches and potential solutions designed to assist the visually impaired and overcome these challenges have been proposed. Today, the most common rehabilitation techniques for the blind are sensory aids such as a Braille reading system, movement aids such as walking sticks, or more modern devices such as obstacle detectors, laser canes, or ultrasonic echolocation devices.
In contrast, new-generation sensory aids go one step further by aiming to deliver complete visual information about the environment to the brain. Classical vision restoration, surgical removal of the cataract, or coping with glaucoma comes to mind; At the same time, these methods may not work for every visually impaired person; the cause of every vision loss is not treatable in this way. Vision restoration in blindness due to other etiologies such as congenital or late–onset degeneration of the retina or optic system has only recently been addressed. The new generation techniques used here are realized with a bionic retina structure, which we can define as neuroprostheses, transmitting visual information directly to the brain via optical pathways.
Şevket Sakinç, who participated in the BAU Robotics Robot and Project Days with the Artificial Intelligence (AI)–supported eye he designed for the visually impaired, said that he developed the project to facilitate the lives of visually impaired people, whose numbers are increasing rapidly in the world. The robot detects the surrounding texts, turns them into sound, and transmits them to the user. While expressing that their goal is to start mass production, Sakinç said they expect support.
BAU Robotics Robot and Project Days, organized by Bahçeşehir University for the 5th time this year, started. Two hundred participants and 150 robots from 15 cities of Turkey participated in the races that started in the university’s South Campus and will last for two days. The robots, which attract attention with their different features and are designed to make human life more manageable, will compete in 5 different categories.
The competition, which allows students of all ages to exhibit their work and introduce their robots, Mini Sumo, is organized into five categories: Line Follower, Terrain Robots, Robot Wars, and Free Category. Providing information about the races, BAU Mechatronics Engineering 3rd year student Arda Dizdaroğlu said that there were 200 participants in the competition, including secondary school, high school, university, graduates, and teachers.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE ASSISTED EYE DESIGNED FOR THE VISUALLY DISABLED
Şevket Sakinç, a graduate of Celal Bayar University Mechatronics Department, who participated in the competition by designing an “Artificial Intelligence assisted eye for the visually impaired,” stated that the robot detects the surrounding texts, turns them into sound, and transmits them to the user. Noting that he detects matrix-based codes and sends them to the visually impaired audibly, Sakinç said, “At the same time, he warns the person against the risks in the environment. We worked with three visually impaired people while doing the project. We made it possible for people to do many things simultaneously with a single camera without making their lives difficult.”
THE PROJECT AIMS TO MAKE PEOPLE’S LIVES EASIER IN PLACES SUCH AS MARKETS, BUS STOPS, HOSPITALS
Saying that they aim to facilitate the life of visually impaired people, Sakinç noted, “The system detects and transmits audio to the visually impaired regardless of distance, with the support of the guard code, so that they do not have difficulty while getting on public transport, going to the hospital, shopping at the market or store. Our goal is to find investors for our project and produce the system so that the visually impaired can use it” he said.