Abstract: Introduction of RGB-D sensors is a revolutionary force that offers a portable, versatile and cost-effective solution of navigational assistance for the visually impaired. RGB-D sensors on the market such as Microsoft Kinect, Asus Xtion and Intel RealSense are mature products, but all have a minimum detecting distance of about 800 mm. This results in the loss of depth information and the omission of short-range obstacles, posing a significant risk on navigation. This paper puts forward a simple and effective approach to reduce the minimum range that enhances the reliability and safety of navigational assistance. Over-dense regions of IR speckles in two IR images are exploited as a stereo pair to generate short-range depth, as well as fusion of original depth image and RGB image to eliminate misjudgment. Besides, a seeded growing algorithm of obstacle detection with extended depth information is presented. Finally, the minimum range of Intel RealSense R200 is decreased by approximately 75%, from 650 mm to 165 mm. Experiment results show capacity of detecting obstacles from 165 mm to more than 5000 mm and improved performance of navigational assistance with expansion of detection range. The presented approach proves to be of qualified accuracy and speed for guiding the visually impaired.
Keywords: RGB-D, IR stereo, RealSense, minimum range, visually impaired