Wearable obstacle detection system fully integrated to textile structures for visually impaired people

Senem Kursun Bahadir*, Vladan Koncar, Fatma Kalaoglu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, an innovative wearable obstacle detection system fully integrated to textile structures, which enables detection of obstacles for visually impaired people, has been developed. In order to guide visually impaired people safely and quickly among obstacles, an innovative approach based on integration of electronics onto textiles has been studied. Adaptation of sensor and actuator methodology to textile structures has been realized. Finally, smart clothing prototype including ultrasonic sensors, vibration motors, power supplies and a microcontroller has been developed. The working principle of the system is based on two main functions: sensing the surrounding environment as well as detection of obstacles via sonar sensors and guiding the user by actuators by using a novel control algorithm based on a neuro-fuzzy controller implemented to a processing unit. This system is able to identify obstacle's position within the detection range. It is capable of detecting obstacle's position accurately. It is easily worn as a garment that is flexible, lightweight and comfortable for human body as well as washable. The proposed smart clothing system could become united part of visually impaired people's lifestyle, and it could help them overcome navigation concerns seamlessly, without imposing upon them any physical or cognitive load.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-311
Number of pages15
JournalSensors and Actuators A: Physical
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012


  • Intelligent textiles
  • Obstacle detection
  • Smart clothing
  • Ultrasonic sensors
  • Vibration motors
  • Visually impaired


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