The climate of achievement of the Diponegoro University academic community which has been well maintained to date has strengthened Undip’s identity as a research university in Indonesia. This is evident from the high enthusiasm of Undip students in participating in the 2022 Student Creativity Program (PKM). Several months earlier, a total of 1661 PKM proposal titles had been submitted by the student team for selection at the university level, which was then further selected at the national level. On 27 May 2022, Undip received PKM funding from the Ministry of Education and Technology for as many as 25 proposals represented by 25 student teams. One of the titles of the proposals that passed the funding raised the issue of blind disability.
Blind people rank first among all other disability categories in terms of limiting conditions (Susenas, 2006). This is due to the limited ability of vision and the ability to mobilize blind people. Referring to the estimated data from the Indonesian Ministry of Health, the number of people with visual impairments in Indonesia reaches 1.5% of the total population of Indonesia. If the current population in Indonesia reaches more than 270 million people, then the number of people with visual impairments is in the range of 4 million people. This figure is certainly not a small number. Rooted from these problems, blind people need to get assistive devices along with special treatment to reduce the factors that hinder them in carrying out daily activities.
Based on the above background, the PKM team consists of five Undip students from the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering, namely Muhammad Favian Adinata, Rizkar Al Akbar, Hana Sajidah, Nur Ayuk Febreyanti, and Hafiz Alifian Aqsha were inspired to create a creative initiative product entitled “Integrated 3D Audio System with Image Processing as a Tool for Blind People Based on Internet of Things”. This prototype is designed as an assistive technology for blind people that can be used on the head. Its main function is to detect the direction of the obstacle object along with information on the distance of the object to the user by utilizing laser light and image processing technology.
The novelty factor in this innovation lies in the development of binaural 3D audio technology that utilizes HRTF (Head-Related Transfer Function) responses in humans. To put it simply, this prototype has the idea of expanding the hearing function of the human ear into the domain of the “vision” function in order to grow the sensory perception of blind people to recognize their surroundings. The 3-dimensional audio system is designed by utilizing data from the LiDAR sensor and Pixy Camera in the form of mapping the direction and distance of obstacle objects as input impulses. Then, by using the signal processing method, the impulse is converted into a sound signal which has the effect of a sound source as if it came from the direction of objects detected in 3-dimensional space in real time. In addition, this prototype also applies the concept of the Internet of Things (IoT) whose context of use is to inform the user’s location to families with disabilities through mobile applications that are connected using internet connectivity.
Thus, the Undip PKM team hopes that the development of this innovation can be a turning point in improving the quality of life for blind people by prioritizing the principles of benefit and sustainability. In addition, it is also hoped that this tool can help make it easier for blind people to participate actively in their environment which can then be a catalyst in efforts to achieve the goals contained in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).