Kinect mod offers rumble navigation for the blind and visually impaired

A mod-in-progress for Microsoft’s Kinect aims to offer navigational aid to the blind and visually impaired. Deveoped by University of Pennsylvania students Eric Berdinis and Jeff Kiske, the belt-mounted mod links the Kinect’s 3D cameras to vibrating motors on the user’s waist, detecting obstacles ahead and warning the wearer of their direction and proximity.

The Kinectesia project’s been in progress since April 2009. Since then, the project’s come a long way. This year, Kinectesia was showcased at Google’s Zeitgest Young Minds conference. You can check out Berdinis at a conference panel with Chelsea Clinton here.

Kinectesia’s inventors point out that the technology is potentially of use to others besides the blind, such as firefighters or miners. They’ve made the installation instructions and software code available on their blog, but keep in mind that it’s not a project for amateur tinkerers.

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