Visually impaired swimmers need beacons to let them know they are nearing the end of the pool. The task of these tools is crucial. With all those muscles pushing high-speed swimmers' bodies towards a wall, they need to know exactly when to stop, tack and start again.
Swimsight is a wearable device that allows visually impaired swimmers to train independently. With this device, visually impaired swimmers do not need any assistance to safely use a public swimming pool. It is a concept (awarded with a James Dyson Award) of head-mounted machine vision system.
How does Swimsight, machine vision for visually impaired swimmers work?
Swimsight calculates the user's position in the lane and proximity to the edge of the pool. Corrections are sent to the user via an intuitive tactile navigation system. It offers the user a higher level of reliability, no human error. For visually impaired swimmers, greater independence and comfort.
Swimsight uses machine vision cameras to draw lane lines - there are five cameras strategically placed to make sure measurements are taken at regular intervals. The algorithm calculates the position in real time. The key feature lies in the addition of an inertial measurement unit, which allows this device to compensate for the movement of the head. Two tactile motors guide swimmers in a straight line, a third warns them when they need to turn.
A pair of glasses that function as an autonomous vehicle
Designed by Hugh Johnston, Swimsight "thinks" almost like an autonomous vehicle that draws lane lines and calculates the user's position. In fact, it is not just a tool that replaces an assistant: it can even become a training mechanism. By perfecting timing and latency times (no longer a warning but a much more immediate tactile feedback), visually impaired swimmers can push their performance to the max.