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Color Glove for the Blind

Objective
The objective of this research is to develop a device that will allow blind or visually-impaired individuals to sense color from their finger tips and perceive the color by a tactile feedback mechanism. The user will learn to “feel” color by the amount of red, green, or blue in the target object. This can be useful to distinguish objects that have the same physical texture and structure, but differ only in visual appearance (color).

Color sensors will be attached across potentially three finger tips for a three dimensional view of the target object. The main controller unit that controls power, and communicates between and processes signals for the sensors and feedback will be located behind the hand. The sensors implement filtered photodiodes (an array of red, green, and blue) and a clear light source to reflect the representative target color back to the photodiodes.

Feedback will be produced using a tactile display of three linear piezoelectric actuators, each representing the red, green, or blue color value of the display’s corresponding color sensor. The reflected color for each red, green, and blue photodiode will activate its corresponding actuator depending on the amount of that color in the target. Intensity of each color value will be directly related to the activating frequency of the corresponding actuator’s shaft displacement.

The completed device should be portable, compact, easy to use and learn, and practical and useful for the individual.


Preliminary Results
Currently the goal for the color glove is to have a tactile shirt that may respond to the movement or touch of the glove. The tactile shirt originally has wires generated from the microprocessor to the shirt, but the new approach is to create the shirt to have a single entry of data and power to a hierarchy of microprocessors that will turn on the motor based on the address of the color touch. Future References

  1. H. Schwerdt, J. Tapson and R. Etienne-Cummings, “A Color Detecting Glove with Haptics Feedback for the Visually Impaired,” Proc. CISS’09, Baltimore, MD, March 2009.
  2. J. Tapson, J. Diaz, D. Sander, N. Gurari, E. Chicca, P. Pouliquen and R. Etienne- Cummings, “The Feeling of Color: a Haptic Feedback Device for the Visually Disabled,” IEEE BioCAS 2008, Baltimore, MD, November 2008.