This paper proposes a new approach to classify obstacles using a time-of-flight camera, for applications in assistive navigation of the visually impaired. Combining range and intensity
images enables fast and accurate object segmentation, and provides useful navigation cues such as distances to the nearby obstacles and obstacle types. In the proposed approach, a 3-D range image is first segmented using histogram thresholding and mean-shift grouping. Then Fourier and GIST descriptors are applied on each segmented object to extract shape and texture features. Finally, support vector machines are used to recognize the obstacles. This paper focuses on classifying pedestrian and non-pedestrian obstacles. Evaluated on an image data set acquired using a time-of-flight camera, the proposed approach achieves a classification rate of 99.5%.