Assistive Technology Group


We propose a system for indoor assisted shopping and navigation for blind people. The proposed system helps the user navigate and find desired or available services and products in buildings. It aims to increase the autonomy of blind people in day-to-day indoor activities. A blind person does not have access to the common visual information. The proposed system consists of a smartphone application which offers guided navigation inside public buildings, answering questions, and providing objective information about places, products and services that are available. The proposed system also includes an information system. This information system identifies the intended destination and offers concise or detailed information on local products or services. The system continuously determines the user's location, calculates routes, guides inside the building, and identifies areas in the vicinity of the user. The system also requires locating beacon technology, which may be for instance Bluetooth or Wi-Fi based. Comparing to the state-of-the-art, our solution offers some important advantages: it minimizes the amount of interaction that would be necessary in other systems in order to specify desired destinations, products or services; it handles a dynamic and walking environment where the number and positions of beacons in range is changing; it takes advantage of devices that the blind person already has, and also any beacons that may be available or cheaply.

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  • Karen Duarte, José Cecílio, Pedro Furtado, "Overview of Assistive Technologies for Blind and Partially Sighted People", to appear in proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Control, Automation, Robotics and Vision (ICARCV 2014), Singapore, 10-12 December, 2014.

  • Karen Duarte, José Cecílio, Pedro Furtado, "Easily Guiding of Blind: providing information and navigation - SmartNav", in proceedings of the 8th International Wireless Internet Conference - Symposium on Wireless and Vehicular Communication (WICON 2014), Lisbon, Portugal, 13-14 November, 2014.

  • Karen Duarte, José Cecílio, Jorge Sá Silva, Pedro Furtado, "Information and Assisted Navigation System for Blind People". In proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Sensing Technology, Liverpool, UK, Sep. 2 – 4, 2014.

  • Karen Duarte, José Cecílio, Jorge Sá Silva, Pedro Furtado, "Assistive system for Blind People on Shopping". ICT Innovations 2014 Web Proceedings ISSN 1857-7288.

  • Karen Duarte, "SmartGuia: Shopping Assistant for Blind People". MSc Thesis

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    Research Team (current)

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    University of Coimbra

    Center for Informatics and Systems of University of Coimbra


    Dolce Vita Coimbra
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    Departamento de Engenharia Informática
    Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia

    Universidade de Coimbra
    Pólo II - Pinhal de Marrocos
    3030-290 Coimbra

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