ICU – Interactive Cognitive Unit


  • Microsoft Imagine Cup 2012 project

  • 2012

Interactive Cognitive Unit (ICU) was the entry for my first Imagine Cup Worldwide finals participation in 2011. The system was intended to help people with sight impairment sense the environments around them. In a prototype version Kinect, a depth sensing camera, was mounted upside down on a bike helmet to be worn by the user. This camera was connected to a computing unit in the backpack, which was extracting depth and color  information. This information was encoded as a vibration pattern transmitted to the skin of the forearm by a 2D grid of vibrating electro-motors. These motors were mounted inside a sleeve with velcro and they were controlled in real-time by the electronics in the backpack. Information about the depth was encoded as the frequency of the vibration of each motor representing the pixel in the image. Information about the color was encoded as the vibration intensity. This way, user could easily sense brighter colors with stronger vibrations and closer objects with faster vibrations.