AUSION is an innovative electronic mobility and travel aid for the visually impaired. Based on the principle of echolocation, AUSION enables people with severe visual disabilities to move around indoors and outdoors with confidence and least assistance. Like bats, AUSION acquires information about the environment, especially objects and obstacles and translates them into sounds information that can be heard. The interpretations of these audible feedbacks enable the virtual recreation of the environment. AUSION is compact, handheld, manoeuvrable, non intrusive device. It helps AUSION detect overhanging obstacles at the chest, shoulder and head levels. This offers a greater freedom of movement to the user.
The AUSION is an electronic Mobility Aid for the visually impaired; it employs
ultrasonic sensors mounted in a handheld device to detect objects in the region immediately in front of the sensors and produces sound patterns which convey information about those objects. AUSION has been designed to provide as much information as possible about the environment in front of the sensors to enable the user to avoid obstacles.
The AUSION is built as a handheld device so that it can scan by natural hand movements – Up and Down or Left or Right. This enables AUSION user to direct attention to a particular feature which s/he may be passing, by bringing it into the line of “view” of AUSION.
AUSION does not give information about the surface texture of the objects which produce the echo signal. Also, the feedback is restricted to the nearest object to avoid any confusing signals to User.
AUSION cannot reliably detect downs or holes in the ground and a primary aid such as the long cane should be used in conjunction with AUSION to cope with this eventuality.
AUSION is developed as a part of our vision to Enhance Quality of Living for visually impaired by providing a Mobility and Navigation solution. The current version of AUSION is the result of several years of research and more than two years of development by InnovationHub Technologies with simple objective of making it useful, simple and affordable to the visually impaired.
AUSION is a secondary mobility aid designed to be used indoors and outdoors in conjunction with either a cane or residual vision. It gives the user advanced warning of objects which lie within his or her travel path.
AUSION has evolved with active support from NAB (National Association for Blinds) Bangalore and Deepa Academy for Blinds, Bangalore. Mobility Trainers from NAB and actual blind users from NAB and Deepa Academy have provided their inputs at various stages of development. It is the outcome of a research program dedicated to achieving an understanding of mobility and the information requirements of the independent blind traveler. AUSION embodies many of the findings of the interaction with large number of visually impaired; the emphasis is on achieving usefulness and simplicity. The feedback comprises the notes of a musical scale, which make a familiar tonal progression as the user approaches an object.
AUSION is covered by patents.
A transmitter in the front of the device radiates ultrasound (high frequency sound inaudible to the human ear) in front. When ultrasound hits an obstruction such as a wall, a person or tree, it is reflected towards AUSION and received by its receiver.
The receiver transforms the reflected signals into electrical signals. AUSION computes the time taken for the received signal to reach its sensors and translates it in to distance to obstacle from the user. This distance is translated into audio “notes” to inform the user about the distance to the obstacle.
The appropriate “note” of the signal indicates the approximate distance of a reflecting object, being lowest at the maximum range of AUSION and gradually increasing note by note as the object becomes closer.
By interpreting the comparative “notes” of the signal the user is able to judge the direction (based on direction the sensors point towards) and distance to the reflecting objects (based on “note” frequency).
AUSION outputs a beam which forms a cone of 100 cm base diameter at a distance of 100 cm. Any object with in this cone area is detected by AUSION. It needs some Up and Down movement to detect object at the surface or chest or head levels. Similarly some left and right movement of AUSION will enable detection of objects in a vertical plane.
Understanding sound signal and correct interpretation will enhance effectiveness of AUSION. Due to the intricacy of the sound signals from AUSION, the user must go through a formal training for proficiency in the useage of AUSION.
For adequate level of competence, 1 to 2 hours per day of practical tuition is recommended for a period of 2 to 3 weeks. If some revision of basic mobility techniques or primary aid skills is necessary, a longer period may be required. Even after satisfactory completion of the training, the process of learning the sounds of the AUSION usually continues for many months.
Orientation and Mobility
AUSION is an effective aid to orientation and travel in most situations, both indoors and outdoors. In outdoor situations, however, it should be used in conjunction with a long cane unless the area of travel is both familiar and free from hazards at ground level which AUSION may not detect.
The long cane user using AUSION can avoid collision with objects above ground level such as sun-shelter, bus stops, branches and the trays of trucks, avoid embarrassing contact with pedestrians or follow shorelines at a more convenient distance. Changing environmental conditions such as those caused by road works can be easily recognised.
Whichever primary aid is used, AUSION provides sufficient information in its signals to allow an experienced user to navigate smoothly around objects. The user can tell not only the direction of an object, but also its approximate distance from her/him.
S/he can follow the flow of pedestrian traffic in a business area to determine the most effective and safe travel speed for the situation. S/he can locate pedestrians to solicit help or ask directions or s/he may simply learn when someone is close to her/him or has departed after a brief conversation.
The AUSION can generally be used indoors without a primary aid unless there are known ground level hazards. In buildings with long corridors, AUSION can be used for orientation, the location of doorways and other landmarks and the avoidance of hazards such as doors, wall mounted drinking fountains, fire extinguishers and chairs.
In large department stores it enables the user to move freely without accidental contact with other shoppers, display stands or counters, and locate exits.
Indoors the user can in time learn to recognise a wide range of objects such as doorways, projecting pillars, elevator entrances, pot plants. This knowledge used with the direction and distance information can allow a visually handicapped person to be more relaxed and effective in performing tasks either at work or in the home.
KNOW YOUR AUSION
AUSION: Handheld mobility aid for visually impaired is designed with end user’s perspective. It’s compact, ergonomic design makes it comfortable to hold and easy to operate. Please read detailed Instruction Manual ( covered in other document) and undergo specified mobility training with Ausion before using Ausion for your daily mobility requirements. Here is quick reference guide to operate AUSION.
|Press Main Key for 1 Sec
|Power On Tune
|1 m Range
|Main Key Once
|confirmation tune Once
|2 m Range
|Main Key Twice
|confirmation tune Twice
|3 m Range
|Main Key Thrice
|confirmation tune Thrice
|Aux Key Once
|Volume Up Key
|Volume Down Key
|unique confirmation tune
|Press Main Switch for 1 Sec
|Power OFF Tune
Quick Reference Guide
Keys and Parts
Functions At a Glance
Press the MAIN Button for at least 1 second. Release the key once you start hearing the Power ON Tune.
Press the MAIN Button for at least 1 second. Release the key once you start hearing the Power OFF Tune.
Your AUSION can operate in 3 range settings – 1 meter, 2 meters and 3 meters.
Select 1 Meter Range : Press the MAIN Button once. You will get a confirmation tune once.
Select 2 Meters Range : Press the MAIN Button twice. You will get the confirmation tune twice.
Select 3 Meters Range : Press the MAIN Button thrice. You will get the confirmation tune thrice.
Your AUSION can operate in 2 different feedback modes – Continuous and Discrete. You can select either of them by pressing the AUX Key once. The modes toggle for every press of the AUX Key. You will get a unique confirmation tune.
Press the Volume Up / Down buttons to increase or decrease the sound level respectively.
- Ergonomic, compact, lightweight, handheld unit
- Selectable range 1 / 2 / 3 meters (upto 1.5 m for soft objects (people or animals))
- Easy to use: Two Keys for Distance Range / User Feedback Mode selection
- Unique tonal colors corresponding to object distances
- Continuous and Discrete modes of audible feedback
- Low cost of ownership (Ultra low power consumption)
- Audible feedback through earphone
- Size: Length x Width x Height 100 mm x 50 mm x 25 mm
- Weight : 95 grams
- Operating temperature: 0° to 35° C
- Battery: Standard 9V 6F22
User Manual – (Attached Separately)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- How do I switch ON AUSION?
The PowerON procedure is explained in the User Manual. Please refer the same for details. AUSION can be switched ON by pressing the MAIN key for about 1 second.
- Do I get any indication that AUSION has switched ON?
Yes. You can get the indication in two ways. When you switch ON AUSION from a previously OFF condition, it gives a unique PowerON Tune. Secondly, if you would like to check if it is already ON, wave your hand in front of AUSION and it will give certain audio tones.
- I pressed the MAIN key, but AUSION does not seem to be switched ON.
You have to press the MAIN key for about 1 second and wait for the PowerON tune to be played by AUSION. If this is not the case, please refer to the User Manual.
- Can I select the range setting that I want anytime?
Yes, it can be done any time when AUSION is ON.
- When selecting a range setting that I want, do I have to remember the previous setting?
No, you do not have to remember or recollect any previous settings. You can select the desired range setting anytime you like.
- Does AUSION operate on a battery?
Yes, AUSION uses a standard 9V battery as its power source.
- How long does the battery last?
It depends on the actual usage of AUSION. A typical 4 hours of usage per day will ensure that the battery lasts for 5 months or beyond.
- Can I recharge the battery?
NO, the battery used in AUSION CANNOT be charged. No external charging of the battery should be attempted. It will result in explosion and may cause serious injuries and should not be attempted.
- Where can I get spare or replacement batteries?
These are standard 9V batteries and are available in any electrical store throughout the country. Please dispose of the used batteries properly.
- Do I have to use only the earphones supplied with AUSION? Can I used any standard earphones?
You can use any standard earphone / headphone and operations of AUSION will not be hampered in any manner. Ensure that you plug the earphone into only one of your ears, which will enable you to gather other environmental sounds without any hindrance.
- Does AUSION provide any tactile or vibration information?
No, the current version of AUSION does not provide any tactile or vibratory feedback for the obstacles ahead.
- I am a deaf blind? Will AUSION be useful for me?
No, the current version of AUSION provides feedback about the environment to the user through audio tones and tunes. Good hearing ability is important for using AUSION.
Hence it will not be useful for the Deaf Blinds.
- While walking around with AUSION as a guide, do I have to keep any key pressed?
No, while using AUSION for your navigation, you do not have to keep any key depressed. Simply switch ON and keep the device in your hand and keep scanning the environment in front of you. AUSION will indicate any obstacles in your path.
- AUSION gives a continuous high pitched tone and doesn’t seem to do anything.
It is possible that your finger may be partially blocking AUSION’s sensors in the front. Move your fingers away from AUSION’s sensors located in the front and rest them in the finger guide. If the problem persists, bring AUSION to a service centre near your location.
- Is AUSION water proof?
No, AUSION is not water proof. It can only tolerate a light drizzle, before water starts getting inside. Do not use AUSION while it rains and do not drop AUSION into water.
If you suspect that water could have seeped inside, switch OFF AUSION, remove battery and let the unit dry completely overnight or longer or by using warm air from a hair dryer.
- I am a blind person. Will I be able to replace AUSION’s battery on my own? Do I need to ask for someone’s help for replacing the same?
Yes, you will be able to replace AUSION’s battery on your own. AUSION is designed in such a way that it provides tactile information about the polarity of the battery, so that installation will always be right. You can feel the polarity information marked inside the battery compartment and install the battery accordingly. Ensure that the battery is installed with the correct polarity. Failure to do so may result in permanent damage to AUSION. There are no cables or wires to connect.
- AUSION uses ultrasound waves. Does this cause any harm to the users or people around them?
AUSION uses very low intensity / low energy ultrasound waves. It does not cause any harm and is safe to use on a regular basis.
- Does AUSION interfere with any other equipment or gadgets causing them to malfunction?
AUSION does not interfere with the operation of any other electronic equipment or gadget.
- Can AUSION indicate to me about the type of objects or wet surfaces?
No, AUSION will only indicate the presence or absence of an obstacle ahead in the path and does not provide any indication about the type and texture of an object or obstacle.
- Can I discard the usage of the white cane after I become comfortable with the usage of AUSION?
Unlike the white cane, AUSION is NOT a Primary travel aid for the visually impaired. It is highly encouraged and recommended that you continue to use AUSION always in conjunction with the traditional white cane.
- Do I need to be familiar with basic mobility techniques before using AUSION?
Yes, it is recommended that you become familiar with standard mobility and cane usage techniques before beginning to use AUSION.
- How much of coverage does AUSION provide for detecting obstacles?
AUSION provides an approximate coverage of a 40 Degree cone. This means that you will get to know about all obstacles within a 1 metre circle at a distance 1 metre away from you. The coverage will be higher if you had selected a higher range setting.
- Can I get to know about overhanging obstacles with AUSION?
Yes, you will able to detect any overhanging obstacle like a tree branch, with AUSION.
- While I am walking on the road, I noticed that I do not get any feedback from AUSION for objects at my head level. Is there any problem with the device?
While walking with AUSION as the guide, you must scan the area in the front with slight up-down and left-right movements of AUSION with your hand and should not keep it in a static manner. This will ensure that most objects above your head and below the knee are picked up by AUSION. The key is to scan.
- Can I connect AUSION to my computer or mobile phone?
No, AUSION is an independent device and does not have the interfaces to connect to a computer or such equipment.
- Can I mount AUSION on my white cane?
No, currently it is not possible to fix AUSION to the white cane. However, InnovationHub may bring about a provision to mount AUSION on the white cane in the future.
- How reliable is AUSION?
AUSION is a product that evolved after more than two years of R&D, prototyping and testing. It has gone through multiple rounds of field trials with actual users. It incorporates feedback from mobility experts. AUSION uses the latest technology in terms of reliable manufacturing. It is sturdily and ergonomically designed and fabricated in way that it does not shatter into multiple pieces when it is accidentally dropped from the waist level. We believe that enough care and precaution has gone into the various design and engineering aspects of AUSION. Handled in the proper manner, we believe that AUSION will provide many years of service to the user.
- Is AUSION imported? Where is it made?
AUSION is completely an indigenous product made in India. Except for a few electronic components, all parts of AUSION are fabricated to highest standards, within India.
- The feedback levels from AUSION is very low. Is there a problem with the device?
You may adjust the volume level of the feedback from AUSION using the Volume UP and Volume DOWN keys on AUSION. You can increase the volume to a level comfortable to you, by depressing the Volume UP key multiple times.
- I have undergone mobility training with the white cane. Is it necessary for me to undergo training again when I purchase AUSION?
Yes, it is highly recommended that you undergo a specific training for familiarising yourself with AUSION and the effective ways to use it. The training will equip you with the ability to correlate the tones provided as feedback from AUSION and the corresponding distance to the obstacles, various confirmatory and warning tunes and techniques to handle various situations during mobility.