“The Dubai Health Hack,” took place on January 21st and 22nd lasting 30 hours round the clock, focused on discovering solutions for People of Determination. Hackers were invited to develop solutions that ease the day-to-day lives of People of Determination. AUD’s Electrical and Computer Engineering Team from the School of Engineering have been selected among four winners at the first Dubai Health Hack.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that over 285 million people globally are visually impaired with 39 million people suffering from blindness and 246 million living with low vision. Additionally, 1.4 million children under the age of 15 are currently blind. Blindness renders the Person of Determination dependent on human chaperones, guide dogs, or canes for movement and navigation on a daily basis. This dependency can often be restrictive and frustrating for those suffering with visibility disabilities.
Therefore, the Electrical and Computer Engineering team at AUD proposed a solution that allows blind People of Determination the ability to sense their physical environment in order to make for safe, flowing movement in their immediate environment by wearing an I_C band. The I_C band worn on the wrist or ankle has multiple sensors that can sense proximal, thermal, 3D- infrared spatial, and density and medium-specific, data and relay back immediate alert signals and information to its user.
These signals guide the blind individual’s movements, facilitate in judging distances, guiding towards open spaces, moving away from harm such as fires, moving objects, or deep water pools for children, as well as assisting in navigating through spaces such as offices, homes, or cities by giving an inputted reference spatial floor plan. It would also sense and warn against objects moving close to the individual requiring his/her attention.
The I_C band will also have the ability to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) methods in object detection and identification which could help gradually personalize information accordingly to the specific user needs and experiential patterns. The I_C band will be used on both wrists and both ankles initially, but it can be modified to other circular forms of attire worn such as an Emirati headband “Aggal” or a trouser belt to cover further dimensional levels. The used coding algorithms are in C++, Java, Python, and other languages to program the I_C band. The I_C band will, therefore, be a personalized holistic wearable, and versatile hands-free solution enabling multisensory-assisted virtual vision for blind People of Determination.
The members of the team, who were mentored by Dr. Meis Moukayed and Dr. Vinod Pangracious, are:
Hayaat Al Hindwan