Emergency Egress and Information System for Persons With Vision Loss

This study has been terminated.
(Intervention worsened performance for first 17 of 24 planned participants.)
Sponsor:
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Department of Veterans Affairs
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier:
NCT00262509
First received: December 2, 2005
Last updated: January 14, 2014
Last verified: January 2014
  Purpose

The purpose of the research project is to develop and evaluate an emergency egress system for persons with visual impairment, which would use existing lighted exit signage to provide egress information at a distance of up to 100 feet.


Condition Intervention
Blindness
Device: Egress Badge

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study
Intervention Model: Crossover Assignment
Masking: Open Label
Official Title: Emergency Egress and Information System for Persons With Vision Loss

Resource links provided by NLM:


Further study details as provided by Department of Veterans Affairs:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Time to Exit Building [ Time Frame: 30 minutes total, 15 minutes for each of two timed trials ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
    Subjects are walked into a building to a specific location and then asked to find their way out of the building. Time to Exit Building is measured. This is protocol is performed twice, and the times averaged to obtain the outcome measure.


Enrollment: 17
Study Start Date: September 2008
Study Completion Date: April 2009
Primary Completion Date: December 2008 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: Egress Badge Performance
Blind subjects are walked into a building to a specific location, and then are asked to find their way out of the building.
Device: Egress Badge
Egress Badge is worn by subjects who are asked to use the badge to exit the building. The badge indicates the direction of each exit sign on route to an exit.
No Intervention: Baseline Egress Performance
Blind subjects are walked into a building to a particular location and then asked to find their way out of the building.

  Hide Detailed Description

Detailed Description:

The purpose of the proposed three-year research project is to develop and evaluate an emergency egress system for persons with visual impairment. This system would use existing lighted exit signage to provide egress information at a distance of up to 100 feet. The distance is the same as the required visibility distance of lighted exit signs for sighted persons. By offering egress information at an equivalent distance, the investigators hypothesize that people with visual impairment can approach the egress performance of sighted persons.

The information transmitted will be equivalent to what a sighted person obtains, namely, the direction of the exit door. In addition, a description of the exit route will be provided including the distance to the exit door; lighting conditions, hazards and obstacles that will be encountered on the exit route; the distance down to the street; and where on the street they will be when they get out of the building. A receiver worn by the person will include a tiny optical array to sense the direction of each exit sign. The receiver will also translate the transmitted signal into a spoken message. A low-profile stereo bone conduction headset will indicate the direction to each exit sign along a path to the exit door. For people with some hearing loss, this same low-profile headset will be used to simulate a light "tap" to one side or other of the head to indicate direction. Such directional "tapping" output may also prove effective when loud alarms are blaring.

The objectives are to:

  1. develop Talking Exit Lights with a range of at least 100 feet,
  2. write software for the user device to accurately indicate the direction of Talking Exit Lights and provide spoken messages,
  3. optimize the user interface to make it easy and intuitive to use,
  4. test the accuracy and reliability of the developed system in terms of transmission range and directional accuracy, and
  5. conduct subject evaluations of the new system.

Two versions of transmitting exit signs will be developed:

  1. a retro-fit design for existing fluorescent light exit signs, and
  2. a Light Emitting Diode (LED) design for the LED exit signs now going into newly constructed buildings.

For the retro-fit version, Talking Lights, LLC, will modify the physical shape and size of their Talking Light digital ballast, making it a fully compatible replacement for existing exit sign ballasts. VA investigators will develop the LED version, designing and constructing a microprocessor-controlled system for storing and transmitting information using LEDs. Both designs will use secure power line communications to upload transmittal information to specific exit signs, each of which will have its own ID number. Finally, VA investigators will write software for the existing Talking Lights PocketPC receiver to interpret sensor signals, obtain sign location data, and convert this data into a stereo sound presentation of exit sign direction.

This development will be accomplished via a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with Talking Lights LLC, which holds a patent on an electronic ballast that converts standard fluorescent bulbs into digital information transmitters. The company will also provide a PocketPC receiver that decodes their proprietary transmission signal, and a 5-sensor optical array capable of picking up their signal over a 150-degree field. As part of this CRADA, Talking Lights will modify their ballast to match the form-factor of ballasts in exit signs. Further, they will release their proprietary encoder design to VA investigators so that the LED Exit Light design can be made fully compatible with the fluorescent light design.

Once developed and optimized, investigators hypothesize a dramatic improvement in egress performance for all ages of two populations:

  1. people with severe vision loss who use a white cane or dog for mobility, and
  2. people with low vision who do not use a white cane or dog for mobility, yet have problems reading and locating exit signs.

Results will be published and presented for review to the National Fire Prevention Agency (NFPA) for consideration as part of the Life Safety Code, and to the Building Officials and Code Administrators (BOCA) for consideration as part of the National Building Code.

COMPARISONS: Egress using existing emergency exit signage.

  Eligibility

Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older
Genders Eligible for Study:   Both
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes
Criteria

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Must Be Blind with no better vision than light perception
  • Must be able to walk the necessary distances, i.e., three hours of intermittent indoor walking
  • OMCT (Orientation-Memory Concentration Test) of 10 or less

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Patients currently being treated at Atlanta VA Medical Center
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00262509

Locations
United States, Georgia
Atlanta VA Medical and Rehab Center, Decatur
Decatur, Georgia, United States, 30033
Sponsors and Collaborators
Investigators
Principal Investigator: David A Ross, MSEE Med Atlanta VA Medical and Rehab Center, Decatur
  More Information

No publications provided

Responsible Party: Department of Veterans Affairs
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00262509     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: C3905-R
Study First Received: December 2, 2005
Results First Received: September 17, 2013
Last Updated: January 14, 2014
Health Authority: United States: Federal Government

Keywords provided by Department of Veterans Affairs:
Rehabilitation
Sensory Aid

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Emergencies
Blindness
Disease Attributes
Pathologic Processes
Vision Disorders
Sensation Disorders
Neurologic Manifestations
Nervous System Diseases
Eye Diseases
Signs and Symptoms

ClinicalTrials.gov processed this record on August 01, 2014