SNG : Sensory Navigation Guide for visually impaired kayakers (2015-2017)
Cosmer member responsible for the project: Didier Groux
Kayaking is a sport activity that can be practiced by visually impaired people within the framework of adapted structures and material. To enjoy the safe practice of this sport, groups of blind/visually impaired kayakers are supervised by specialized instructors who guide them along the sea ride. The accompanying kayakers, holding a degree or simple practicing people, use in addition to their voice, a sound signal of foghorn type to periodically guide the group when necessary.
In order to provide them with more autonomy and with customized indications along their tour, it was envisaged to create an electronic navigation device aimed at guiding visually impaired kayakers on a pre-established trajectory (customizable) and at informing them about their progression along the path to follow.
Thanks to this electronic assistance, the safety of the groups is strengthened, and the sensation of individual autonomy among visually impaired kayakers is extended for increased entertainment in this sport activity.
Besides, in case of competition, the SNG would be a personal assistant that would be able to help keeping the visually impaired kayaker inside the predetermined training trajectory lane, but without acting as a full substitute for the human instructor.
In cooperation with the Pradet Kayak Club (CKP), Cosmer research scientists from the University of Toulon and the ISEN engineering school, are working with students to find a solution to design and build a SNG device prototype. This project aims to equip a number of users that will be invited to evaluate the prototype solutions from a functional and technological point of view. Subsequently, new practices of supervision could be imagined that would lead to meet some expectations of the SNG. The initial funding of this project is a 4K€ prize from EDF.
Furthermore, kayaking is not the only activity that could benefit from such an assistance device. Actually other nautical activities or even terrestrial activities could benefit from the technological advances developed within the context of this project.