Many blind people
don´t like to go
grocery shopping That´s what we want to change.
We are project ARGUS.
Grocery shopping in supermarkets is not barrier-free for blind and visually impaired people. Supermarket layouts are confusing, the products are sometimes difficult to find and very difficult to distinguish from each other due to their very similar packaging. Non-sighted and blind people are faced with big issues while navigating through the stores. These issues are caused by narrow aisles that are often times blocked by goods that are yet to be stored in the shelves, shopping carts or seasonal or weekly changing displays with changing locations.
Some people with visual impairments are so anxious that they only enter a supermarket when there is no other way.
Because of the difficulty in finding the right products on endless shelves, browsing, comparing prices and trying out new products often fall by the wayside. We will use new, interactive technologies to enable this group of people to shop for groceries independently and securely.
Our goal is to enable non-sighted or limited-sighted people to have the autonomy and self-determination while grocery shopping that has so far been reserved for sighted people. Shopping should be fun for everyone and no one should regard their own food supply as an unpleasant task.
After analyzing barriers and confounding factors that make shopping difficult for the blind and visually impaired, we are researching and developing a smart digital assistant that enables our target group to shop for groceries as easily as sighted people. This assistant will be controlled via gestures and speech, get to know its users better and better and provide them with individual support while being in the store. The assistant will include several functions: Help with orientation in stores through indoor navigation, interactive product recognition through scanning functions, and information provision as well as customer advice through input and output of speech. Mediation by sighted people will also be possible in emergencies.
This assistent will be integrateable for everyday devices such as smartphonesand will be controlled via gestures and speech, getting to know its users better and better. Also, contacting sighted people for active help will be possible.
INNOVATION AND PERSPECTIVES
For the first time, visually impaired people have the opportunity to shop barrier-free in supermarkets. Our solution can also be transferred to other types of stores and premises and be further developed for different areas. The digital assistant can also be adapted for people without visual impairments and lead to a more informative and interactive shopping experience.
ARGUS consists of 18 people working on the project in 4 smaller teams from two start-ups, one sme (small to medium enterprise) and one university. Together we are researching for, and building the ARGUS application for digital devices, which will support non- and partially-sighted people using interactive support systems. These systems are aimed to achieve a more barrier-free and equally empowered experience for our target group while grocery shopping.
After the completion of application formulation and submission in 2021, the approval of our project folled in 2022. The project started on august 01., 2022.
ARGUS in numbers
Total Running Time
Total Project Budget
1,83 Mio. €
1,4 Mio. €
provided by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
skilled members of science, research, IT, inclusion and design
ARGUS assigns two subcontractors: GS1 Germany and ABW PLUS
GS1 Germany is a subcontractor in the project and supports us with the provision of test environments such as the "Shopper Experience", an artificial store space in the corporate´s own "Knowledge Center" in Cologne. In addition, GS1 acts in an advisory capacity and networks the project team with industry-relevant contacts.
AWB PLUS is subcontractor of ARGUS and responsible for the backend system of our digital ARGUS application, which is developed by SonicView. In addition, ABW PLUS is entrusted with the data hosting.
ARGUS is a merger of various teams with different foci and fields of expertise from a wide range of disciplines. We would like to briefly introduce our teams to you in the following.
Project Coordination, User-Research, App-Developement, User-Experience & User-Interface Design with human centered focus
User Research & Requirements Analysis, Human-Computer Interaction, Speech Assistance
Intermediate applications & remote user support, AI-based speech processing
Artificial Intelligence, product recognition, Interior navigation
ARGUS is funded by:
German Federal Ministry of Education and Scientific Reseach (BMBF)
Financing & Public Announcing
VDI / VDE INNOVATION + TECHNIK GMBH
Supervision, control, distribution of funds from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Scientific Research (BMBF)
During the course of the project, scientific papers are produced with findings obtained by our team members. After publication, these can be accessed via the button below. On the following page, these can be accessed by selecting the H-BRS team members by name.