Projects

Blind Person Navigation System

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Project Owner : SPWASNIK
Created Date : Sat, 13/09/2014 - 16:12
Project Description :

To successfully navigate in an indoor environment, a blind person must be able to detect low and mid-height obstacles, as well as stairs. The most common tool that blind people currently use to navigate is the standard white cane. Therefore, we decided to modify and enhance a walking cane, since blind people already are comfortable with it.[1] The standard white cane is only able to detect objects by touch. The blind user sweeps the cane back and forth in front of them. If the cane runs into an object or falls off of the edge of a stair, the blind person becomes aware of the obstacle – too late. We wanted to provide additional feedback to the blind person to warn them of objects before they run into them. We accomplished this goal by adding infrared and sonar sensors to the cane that provided information about the environment to the blind person through tactile- auditory feedback



[1] After conversations with experienced engineers and users of blind canes, we gathered enough information to conclude that the standard cane should be used as our base model. Other ideas were recommended (such as sensor-embedded gloves) but the practical and aesthetic value of such designs was minimal. Blind users expressed the need to not feel too ‘alienated’ by an awkward design that would only call unnecessary attention. Also, and most importantly, improving upon the ordinary cane deemed most favorable since it would minimize the training time required for blind users. Canes are readily available to them and most users are accustomed to the tactile experience of using a cane. A new design would require a learning process which could not be favored by users.

 

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