Date of Award

Summer 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Industrial Engineering (MSIE)


Industrial Engineering

First Advisor

Bradley S. Duerstock

Second Advisor

Juan P. Wachs

Committee Chair

Bradley S. Duerstock

Committee Co-Chair

Juan P. Wachs

Committee Member 1

Vincent Duffy


Currently there is no suitable substitute technology to enable blind or visually impaired (BVI) people to interpret visual scientific data commonly generated during lab experimentation in real time, such as performing light microscopy, spectrometry, and observing chemical reactions. This reliance upon visual interpretation of scientific data certainly impedes students and scientists that are BVI from advancing in careers in medicine, biology, chemistry, and other scientific fields. To address this challenge, a real-time multimodal image perception system is developed to transform standard laboratory blood smear images for persons with BVI to perceive, employing a combination of auditory, haptic, and vibrotactile feedbacks. These sensory feedbacks are used to convey visual information through alternative perceptual channels, thus creating a palette of multimodal, sensorial information. A Bayesian network is developed to characterize images through two groups of features of interest: primary and peripheral features. Causal relation links were established between these two groups of features. Then, a method was conceived for optimal matching between primary features and sensory modalities. Experimental results confirmed this real-time approach of higher accuracy in recognizing and analyzing objects within images compared to tactile images.