Source:Third International Conference on Body Area Networks (BodyNets08), Tempe, AZ (2008)
Keywords:Interactive Shopping Environment
Present day shopping environments are centered around the needs of the consumer, and they aim to facilitate convenient access to different product lines varying from groceries to books to everyday electronics. Supermarkets and hypermarkets are examples of trends that have evolved providing a rich shopping experience. Unfortunately, such systems have been envisioned to cater to sighted customers and inadequately address the necessities of a person who is blind or visually impaired. In this work, we present a new system design that leverages the potential of emerging technologies like Electronic Product Code (EPC) and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) to provide a wearable wireless device capable of delivering product information at real-time in order to enhance the shopping experience of customers who are visually impaired or blind. Various technologies have been proposed by earlier researchers to address the accessible shopping problem. In this paper, we have discussed each of these approaches, and analyzed their benefits and limitations, eliciting the motivation for a new design. Detailed descriptions of the various components of the proposed system are presented. An implementation of our system is illustrated with results from calibrated tests with wearable RFID readers and tags installed on various products. Studies of crucial design parameters like the variation of RFID reader sensitivity with orientation, range and material, along with system response time, are discussed to highlight the choice of technology elements in the design.