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City College of New York-led research could lead to wearable sensors for the blind
Date:9/28/2011

Wearable sensors that allow the blind to "see" with their hands, bodies or faces could be on the horizon, thanks to a $2 million award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to researchers at The City College of New York and Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech).

The grant, through the NSF "Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation" program, will fund a multidisciplinary team investigating devices for "alternative perception" and the principles underlying the human-machine interaction. Alternative perception emulates vision by combining electronics and input from the other senses. In addition to aiding the visually impaired, the researchers expect the findings to lend themselves to other applications, such as the development of intelligent robots.

The grant is the first to result from a collaboration supported by CCNY's City SEED Grants program, an internal award of $50,000 in seed money to promote interdisciplinary faculty research partnerships. The program, initiated in the fall of 2010 by President Lisa S. Coico, requires grant recipients to include a plan to expand their projects and apply for further funding from other organizations.

The initial collaboration involved Dr. Zhigang Zhu, professor of computer science and computer engineering in City College's Grove School of Engineering, the principal investigator on the NSF grant, Dr. Tony Ro, professor of psychology and director of the Program in Cognitive Neuroscience, and Dr. Ying Li Tian, professor of electrical engineering. "The whole project needed something more interdisciplinary, so I looked for complementary research and found my neighbor Tony (Ro's laboratory) is right next door," said Professor Zhu.

"(This) was truly a good example of an interdisciplinary proposal and members with a complementary expertise -- not just similar overlapping expertise -- which is unusual," said CCNY Associate Provost for Research Larry Bank, who oversees the City SE
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Contact: Jessa Netting
jnetting@ccny.cuny.edu
212-650-7615
City College of New York
Source:Eurekalert

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