Helping the Blind Navigate
Brian Shao
Alpha Secondary
Floor Location : J 026 N

This project attempts to solve a simple but massively neglected problem--navigation for blind individuals. Currently, this group of people often can only rely on simple tools such as canes. This is because corporations and manufacturers do not want to sell products that are for such a minority people, due to the lower profit that they could potentially gain.

The system uses a Arduino UNO compatible micro-controller for interfacing of the inputs and outputs, as well as both infrared-laser rangefinders and ultrasonic distance sensors. These sensors actively find the distance between the user and the closest object. This distance is then compared to target threshold: any distance below that and the user is alerted; any distance above and the system will continue. A buzzer or any set of headphones will relay the signal. All connections are done via a form of USB, a 3.5 millimetre headphone jack, or a DC jack for easy interface of the system.

The system is designed in a modular fashion for easy swapping of damaged or upgraded parts. For example, if one of the sensors are broken, instead of replacing the whole system, which could cost between twenty to a hundred dollars, depending on the sensors used. Instead, they would only have to replace the damaged sensors, which would only cost between five and forty dollars, depending on the type of sensor. Different layouts of sensors can be achieved, not all sensors must be used for the system to work properly.

There is a Wireless Web-app that allows configuring the system for the users' preference. This includes configuring sensors and their layout and position, and threshold, which is useful for different speeds.

The system has been designed for ease of use. Affordability and effectiveness are also a big priority. If sold commercially, the system would cost significantly less than other available solutions, which are both in accurate and can cost thousands of dollars. This system would cost around a hundred dollars at it's maximum, making it an easy choice for blind individuals all over the world.