Manchester University’s researcher develops low cost smart cane
Life for the visually impaired is very tough, and at times it can get relentless. Even for the family of the blind person, life is not the same. That is what Vasileios Tsormpatzoudis, a PhD student from the Manchester University’s School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. His mother has retinis pigmentosa (Hereditary eye disorder affecting the retina) and that affects her daily routine in more ways than not. This inspired the researcher to make a low-cost smart cane as a reliable mobility tool in daily life. And he like to call it mySmartCane.
Using 3D printing and readily available sensors, Vasileios developed the solution during his tenure at National Instruments. There is an ultrasonic ball attached to the cane which detects distance of the approaching objects and sends an audio signal to alert the user.
Vasileios says he has many ideas to improve the current design to detect overhead obstacles too. That will be a welcome addition making visually impaired people’s lives better.
Vasileios Tsormpatzoudis said;
Even though the white cane is a simple and marvelous invention, it is stuck in the past. This project was my opportunity to give this traditional device a 21st Century upgrade.
It works much like a car parking sensor which gives repeated beeps depending on the distance of the bumper from the object. In this smart cane’s case, the user keeps getting the beeps using a bone-conducting headphones or a single headphone.