The main computing processing component, sensors and cameras are attached to the cane.
Imran Mojib, Special Correspondent
A team of students from the American University of Sharjah has designed an innovative smart cane to assist people with impaired vision as part of their graduation design project.
The design project features two parts – a smartphone application with a voice-alert feature that allows Google Maps to locate the user, and an adjustable cane that is connected to a wheeled chassis. The main computing processing component, sensors and cameras are attached to the cane.
Using Internet of things (IoT) smart technology, the cane’s handle has an emergency pushbutton that allows the user to send alert signals to a guardian’s mobile phone to locate and assist the user. The system is designed to help people with visual impairment move to specific locations indoors and outdoors while detecting and avoiding stationary obstacles along the way.
Computer science and engineering students Mariam Jamal Arshi, Reem Abdullah Al Amiri, Fatima Hussein Arab and Sarah Mohammed Al Mazmi aimed to demonstrate how IoT can be used to address challenges facing people with disability.
The students began work on their project in January 2020 and presented the prototype as part of their graduation design project in December. The team carried out in-depth research for their graduation project and reached out to various stakeholders.
The proposed smart cane design can provide several important functions useful in both private and public spaces, including airports, public parks and malls.
“Firstly, it can detect and classify barriers for people with visual impairment at a specific distance. In the event of an obstacle, the cameras intake pictures. Using artificial intelligence, the cane identifies the obstacle and informs the user via a loudspeaker about the type and nature of the obstacle ahead of them,” said team member Arshi.
“Secondly, it can detect when the user is about to fall and warn the user’s guardian through the smart mobile application. Users can also activate an alarm by pressing a button that will send an alert signal to a guardian. Finally, the cane can track the user’s current location and locate them on Google Maps through the smart application. This is useful for family members, who can access it anytime,” she added.
The project was funded by Sandooq Al Watan Fund and AUS.
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