Automatic Pin Counting System for the Blind Bowling
Tsukuba University of Technology
4-12-7 Kasuga, Tsukuba City, Ibaraki 305-8521, Japan
Tenpin bowling is an adaptive sport for persons with severe visual impairment, including blind persons with adequate support. It is known as “Blind bowling.” To play it, blind players are allowed to use a guide rail, and sighted assistants support the players by informing them of scores, ball trajectories, positions of remaining pins, etc. However, these blind players desire to play without the support of sighted assistants. Therefore, to solve this need, an automatic pin counting system was developed as an initial step. The system detects the number of remaining pins and positions using simple image processing, and communicates the information utilizing a speech synthesizer. Evaluation of the system showed that it was sufficient to assist the blind player’s practice. Moreover, an unexpected effect was found: all blind persons who take part in the game are able to enjoy whole games. This is because the system continuously announces to everyone present, the remaining pins of the targeted blind player, as well as every other player. As a consequence, the system helps the blind player, both when bowling alone, and when enjoying a game with other participants.
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