We propose a navigational aid approach for the blind that relies on active optical profilometry with real-time electrotactile interfacing on the skin. Here we are concerned with the optical parts of this system. We point out the particular requirements the profilometer must meet to meet the needs of blind people. We show experimentally that an adequate compromise is possible that consists of a compact class I IR laser-diode triangulation profilometer with the following characteristics: 30-cm to 30-m range, 1-deg angular resolution, 20-ms acquisition time per measure of distance, 60° angular scanning field.
© 1996 Optical Society of America
Original Manuscript: March 14, 1995
Revised Manuscript: October 22, 1995
Published: March 1, 1996
R. Farcy, B. Denise, and R. Damaschini, "Triangulating laser profilometer as a navigational aid for the blind: optical aspects," Appl. Opt. 35, 1161-1165 (1996)