Zhigang Zhu's expertise in human-computer interaction
and computer vision, Prof.
Xiao's expertise in robotic navigation, we have
expanded their research focus to developing advanced human
centric assistive systems to help people in need, e.g.
visually impaired people, to achieve
independent and quality life in familiar or unfamiliar
environments. We have collaborations with the Computer Center for
Visually Impaired People (CCVIP) at CUNY
Baruch College, the NYS Commission for the Blind
(NYSCB), New York Institute of Special
most recently NYSID and Goodwill NY/NJ
via the CREATE
program. Their feedback could help us
compact, lightweight, inexpensive devices or services to
improve the quality of life of people, particular those in
We have developed a
cross-department joint senior design course for
undergraduate seniors in CS, CpE and EE in developing
automated and assistive technologies for smart living of
all. These include: multimodal, passive and
unobtrusive techniques for helping visually impaired people
to achieve independent travel in unfamiliar environments;
smart house systems and mobile apps for improving the
quality of life of elderly and people in need (such as with
Autism Spectrum Disorders - ASDs); and sensing technologies
for health monitoring and rehabilitation .We have obtained
multiple NSF, NYSID and VentureWell awards to carry out
basic research and to run the
cross-department joint senior design program for CS/CpE/EE
seniors. The joint
senior design program builds on our existing capstone
design course structure in CS and EE departments, but with
a new concentration on assistive
technology for people in need.
In each year, the joint senior design course is a mandated two semester sequence for senior students in both CS and EE departments. In the first semester we will offer materials on basic technologies in sensors, actuators, robotic navigation, vision algorithms, and assistive technologies by the instructors. The general materials will introduce important aspects of a business plan such as project management, intellectual property (IP), entrepreneurship. The lecture series on entrepreneurship at GSoE will be utilized where professionals are invited to share their real world experiences.
In the second semester, the student teams are expected to implement design ideas, prototype, test, and evaluate different designs. Students will also have the opportunities to perform usability study on vision impaired users in collaboration with NYSCB therefore better understanding their needs to improve the designs and to create more appropriate business plans. The prominent teams with innovative ideas/technology and good business plans will be recommended to compete for (1) Zahn Center Competitions, (2) NYSID CREATE Awards and (3) VentureWell E-TEAM Competition. The CREATE Awards will provide up to $1000 during the senior design period, and the winning teams in Zahn and E-Team will be supported to continue the effort in summer and beyond.
Additional Reading on Assistive Technologies for Visually Impaired (link to the list - internal use only)