GesturePod: Gesture-based Interaction Cane for People with Visual Impairments
People using white canes for navigation face challenges concurrently accessing other devices, e.g., smartphones. Building on recent research on abandonment of specialized devices, we explore a new touch free mode of interaction, wherein a person with visual impairment performs gestures on their existing white cane to trigger tasks on their smartphone. We present an easy-to-integrate GesturePod, that clips on to any white cane and enables the detection of gestures performed with the cane. GesturePod, thereby, helps manage a smartphone without touch, or removing the phone from a pocket or bag. In this paper, we present design decisions and challenges in building the pod. We propose a novel, efficient machine learning pipeline to train and deploy the model. Our in-lab study shows that GesturePod achieves >92% gesture recognition accuracy and can significantly reduce the time taken for common smartphone tasks. Our in-wild study suggests that GesturePod is a promising interaction tool for smartphone, especially in constrained outdoor scenarios.