Student developing way for the blind to play ping pong using sound

December 08, 2023

Object tracking cameras combined with speakers provide real-time audio feedback in three dimensions, creating an acoustic "image”. Image: Phoebe PengWorking with ARIA Research, a startup co-led by the University of Sydney and the University of Technology Sydney which is developing vision for the blind, Phoebe Peng is using technologically advanced human echolocation that enables blind users to perceive their surroundings in precise detail. The images are then processed into sound using a specialised algorithm. “Table tennis or ping pong has been played for decades as a more accessible version of tennis. However, like many sports, it remains inaccessible for people who are blind or have low vision,” said Ms Peng, who will soon complete a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) in Software Engineering.

Object tracking cameras combined with speakers provide real-time audio feedback in three dimensions, creating an acoustic "image”. Image: Phoebe Peng

Working with ARIA Research, a startup co-led by the University of Sydney and the University of Technology Sydney which is developing vision for the blind, Phoebe Peng is using technologically advanced human echolocation that enables blind users to perceive their surroundings in precise detail.

The process uses event cameras which, unlike normal cameras that capture complete images of a scene, track changes in an image over time, making them ideal for the observation of small objects like table tennis balls. The images are then processed into sound using a specialised algorithm. This is then communicated back to the player via an array of loudspeakers, ultimately with the aim of allowing players to track the ball and movements acoustically.

“Table tennis or ping pong has been played for decades as a more accessible version of tennis. The sport is particularly beginner-friendly while maintaining a rich level of competitive play. However, like many sports, it remains inaccessible for people who are blind or have low vision,” said Ms Peng, who will soon complete a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) in Software Engineering.

The source of this news is from University of Sydney

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