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Intelligent wheeled mobile robots for blind navigation application

Ter-Feng Wu (Department of Electrical Engineering, National Ilan University, Yilan, Taiwan)
Pu-Sheng Tsai (Department of Electronic Engineering, China University of Science and Technology, Taipei, Taiwan)
Nien-Tsu Hu (Department of Chemical Systems Research Division, National Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology, Taoyuan, Taiwan)
Jen-Yang Chen (Department of Electronic Engineering, Ming Chuan University, Taoyuan, Taiwan)

Engineering Computations

ISSN: 0264-4401

Article publication date: 18 April 2017




Visually impaired people have long been living in the dark. They cannot realize the colorful world with their vision, so they rely on hearing, touch and smell to feel the space they live in. Lacking image information, they face challenges in the external environment and barrier spaces. They face danger that is hundreds of times higher than that faced by normal people. Especially during outdoor activities, they can only explore the surrounding environment aided by their hearing and crutches and then based on a vague impression speculate where they are located. To let the blind confidently take each step, this paper proposes sticking the electronic tag of the radio-frequency identification (RFID) system on the back of guide bricks.


Thus, the RFID reader, ultrasonic sensor and voice chip on a wheeled mobile robot link the front end to the crutch. Once the blind person nears a guide brick, the RFID will read the message on the tag through the voice broadcast system, and a voice will inform the visually impaired person of the direction to walk and information of the surrounding environment. In addition, the CMOS image sensor set up in the wheeled mobile robot is used to detect the black marking on the guide brick and to guide the blind to walk forward or turn around between the two markings. Finally, the lithium battery charging control unit was installed on the wheeled mobile robot. The ATtiny25 microcontroller conducts the battery charge and discharge control and monitoring of the current battery capacity.


The development of this system will let visually impaired people acquire environmental information, road guidance function and nearby traffic information.


Through rich spatial environment messages, the blind can have the confidence and courage to go outside.



Wu, T.-F., Tsai, P.-S., Hu, N.-T. and Chen, J.-Y. (2017), "Intelligent wheeled mobile robots for blind navigation application", Engineering Computations, Vol. 34 No. 2, pp. 214-238.



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