2006 Conference General Sessions


Hirohiko Ohkubo
Mitsubihi Precision Company
345 Kamimachiya
Kamakura 247-8505 Japan
Day Phone: 81-467-42-5712
Fax: 81-467-42-5799
Email: ohkubohr@mpcnet.co.jp

Presenter #2
Seiji Kitakaze
NEC Corpolation
5-229-23 Shiba
Minato-ku 108-8420 Japan

Email: s-kitakaze@aj.jp.nec.com

This paper presents the contents and evaluation results held at 2005 Aichi-Expo of development project undertaken by Japanese government, METI that provide integrated assistive system.

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) of Japan has started a new project for developing the user friendly way-finding/guidance system for disabilities. Feature of this project is aiming to develop the system utilizing currently available technology and future technology can be also added. Field evaluation has conducted in 2005 at Aichi-Expo, Japan. The final goal of this project is to propose the standardized system to ISO.

1.1 Backgrounds and Concept
Information Technology (IT) is becoming popular and so-called IT society is growing. All people can join the IT society, not only ordinary people but also disabled persons.

Many kinds of assistive systems for persons with disabilities have been developed and used so far, but there is neither compatibility nor interoperability so that the different types of devices that are specifically provided for each system has to be used by users.

The purpose of this project is to develop a single device which can commonly be used for different types of way-finding/guidance systems resulting much benefit and usability become available to users especially for disabled persons.

The common platform architecture is applied to integrate functions to be worked with different types of sensors and media such as GPS, Infrared Communications, Radio Communications and RFID, and also provide the expansion capability for new sensors would be developed in future.

The development of the system not only for visually impaired but also other disabilities like hearing disabled, locomotive impaired, wheel chair users, etc. is very important for all disabilities, and the system would be also convenient to ordinary people.

1.2 Scope
The project is being scheduled over four years to complete from fiscal 2003 to 2006 as described in the following. FY, Fiscal year means April to March.

FY2003: Review of functions to be serviced and system concept
Review and evaluation of compatibility and interoperability between each systems development and evaluation of prototype 1 operated with PDA

FY2004: Improvement and refine the functions and performance of Prototype 1
Development of Prototype 2 operated with cell phone

FY2005: Field test of Aichi World Exposition
Refine Prototype 2 with results of field test

FY2006: Finalize the functions and specifications of Prototype 2 as a Standard user terminal. Review of standard specification, open to public and proposed to JIS (Japan Industrial Standard) and International Standard

Figure-1 shows the roadmap of project development.
As shown above this project will finally provide a small size, light weight mobile terminal integrated into the cell phone with major functions using GPS, infrared, radio, and RFID sensors/media which need to assist pedestrians with disables and also normal persons.


2.1  Prototype 1
This will use the conventional system already installed and also the modern technology. Especially for visually impaired people, Rf system and Ir system are popular in Japan. For the development phase it is easy to use PDA for software portion, and the configuration of prototype 1 system is like this:
For position information: GPS, Ir, RFID
For directional information: Rf and Ir

2.2 Prototype 2
As for prototype 2, we planned to use mobile phone with GPS service. And we also planned to develop small adapter unit that can be attached to mobile phone. In this step, we incorporated the Bluetooth technology. Figure-2.1 shows the prototype 2 configuration, Table-2.1 shows the specification and Figure-2.2 shows example of typical screen on the cell phone.

Item Specification Remarks
Sensor Ir receiver Wave length: 870 nm
FM transmitter Frequency: 75.8 MHz
FM receiver Frequency: 312.45 MHz
Interface Cell phone interface RS232c 1ch 300bps/384bps
IrDA 1ch 96bps/15200bps
Bluetooth Bluetooth 1.2, serial profile
Human Machine Interface Operating switch Power sw, Control sw x 2, Volume sw
Speaker 1 ea
Microphone 1 ea
Headset connector 1 ea
Dimension W55mm x D140mm x H35mm
Weight 250g
Operating time Continuous: 1 hour Intermittent: 6 hours

Utilizing prototype 2 system, we conducted the evaluation test as follows:

3.1 Test conditions
Date: 20 June to 26 August 2005
Place: The field of 2005 Aichi Expo, Nagoya, Japan
Visually impaired 171
Blind 132; Age 20ís to 70ís
Low vision 39; Age 20ís to 70ís

Wheel chair users 30
Hearing impaired and other disabilities 40

3.2 Test route and evaluation items
We conducted evaluation in several route and items.
Typical route is shown in figure- 3.1.

3.3 Questionnaire
We made some question sheets in Q and A style.
The questionnaire includes followings and others.

Participantís status, Outgoing frequency, Accidents while walking.
On Information provided: Route guidance information, Caution information, Caution information.
Message contents, Message timing.
Human interface.
System effectiveness.
General comments.
3.4 Test situation
Figure-3.2 shows the test situation.

3.4 Test Results

3.4.1  Results of questionnaire
It took one day to conduct the test for one person.
There are many questions to each participant.
The data of questionnaire are now processing. The results will be introduced on CSUN2006 conference on site.

3. 4.2  Comments of participants
There were many comments at test. Typical comments are as follows:
- It is very assistive to have voice message guidance especially at unfamiliar place.
- It is very comfortable and dreamy because my activity area becomes wider.
- Infrared system is very good because I can judge the direction to the destination when accustomed.
- The terminal is lighter than prototype1. It is better to get lighter weight terminal than now.
- On message contents, approximately has too wide meaning for each person.
- When getting familiar with the system, more faster message speed is required.
- When using the voice message guidance, it becomes anxiety if the message is lost.

Most of participants evaluated that the system works well and have great expectation for development of new devices as the next step.

For future system, providing the convenience to disabilities will be essential as well as providing the solution to all peoples. For this purpose, the global standardization of the system is very important.

It is appreciated for kind cooperation and assistance that a lot of precious opinions and suggestions are given by Mr. HIRANO of 2005 Expo Association, Ms. SUGI of NTT DoCoMo company, Mr. TESHIGAHARA of Nomura Research Institute, Mr.MATSUMURA of Ikeno Tuken company, Mr.TSUKADA of Hitachi company and participants to those tests.

(1) CSUN 2002 Conference proceedings: Evaluation of Pedestrian Information and Communication Systems-A for visually impaired persons
(2) CSUN 2005 Conference proceedings: Integrated Wayfinding/Guidance System Using GPS/IR/RF/RFID with Mobile Device

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