ABBI: Adaptive Lighting for Visually Impaired Children

Introduction

The ABBI (Audible Bracelet for Blind Interaction) project has been developing an audio bracelet for visually impaired children. Audio bracelets are wearable sound sources that produce sound in response to movement. The main purpose of these audio bracelets is rehabilitation for visually impaired children, as they can be used in activities that improve spatial cognition.

Adapting home lighting

The ABBI bracelet has other capabilities beyond making sounds in response to movement. One of these is the ability to be a Bluetooth beacon, a device that can be used for estimating proximity to people or places. At University of Glasgow, we investigated if we could use the beacon capabilities of the ABBI bracelet to adapt the lighting at home, based on a child’s location and activity. For example, if a child entered their bedroom and we could detect that, then we could automatically turn the lights on and increase them to maximum brightness, to help them see furniture and obstacles. We could also change the lighting during play to stimulate a child’s vision; for example, a coloured lamp could create colourful patterns in response to an ABBI bracelet moving around the room.

A video at the bottom of this page demonstrates a prototype of an adaptive lighting system. We describe the development and initial evaluation of this prototype in two papers, also listed below.

Publications

  • Freeman, E., Wilson, G. and Brewster, S.: Automatically Adapting Home Lighting to Assist Visually Impaired Children. In Proceedings of the 9th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction – NordiCHI ’16, ACM Press, 2016.
  • Freeman, E., Wilson, G., and Brewster, S.: Towards a Multimodal Adaptive Lighting System for Visually Impaired Children. In Proceedings of ICMI 2016 Demonstrations, ACM Press, pp. 398-399, 2016.

Video demonstration