P12015: Navigation Aid for the Blind -- floor in building


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Project Summary Project Information

For an updated project description, click on the following link for the Project Readiness Package.

Visually impaired or blind (VI/B) individuals can have difficulty navigating through unfamiliar areas. Room numbers and locations are often indicated in Braille, but less than 10% of legally blind people in the US can read Braille. In order to address this problem, our team designed and created a navigation aid device for blind people walking in an unfamiliar building. RIT is home to a number of students with visual impairments, and many of these students are also deaf or hard of hearing. In order to meet the needs of the local population of potential end users of this device, the navigation does not rely on auditory cues, and it allows the user to continue to use a cane or guide dog.

An integrated package that contains both the navigation and the input/feedback mechanism was created. The device designed can navigate a person from any point on the 2nd floor of the Gleason Building (09) to any other point on that floor. The complete navigation system is based on a series of RFID tags that indicate landmarks in the target area, and implements Dijkstra’s Routing Algorithm to determine the best path from a known starting point (based on local RFID tag identification) to a known end point (entered by the user).

During 2010-11, a pair of teams (P11016, P11017) undertook initial proof-of-concept designs, which forms the foundation of our 2011-12 project. Below are links to their website and designs.

Intra-Building System

Tactile Interface for Visually Impaired

Project Name
Building Navigation Aid for Visually Impaired/Blind
Project Number
Start Term
End Term
Faculty Guide
Dr. Beth DeBartolo, eademe@rit.edu
Other Support
Dr. Vinny Amuso, vjaeee@rit.edu
Prof. John Kaemmerlen, jxkpdm@rit.edu
Prof. Adriana Becker-Gomez, axbeec@rit.edu
Sponsor (financial support) :
National Science Foundation

National Science Foundation

Team Members

Name Position Phone Number Email
Bob Evans Electrical Engineer 315-532-7488 rme3091@rit.edu
Jackson Lamp Computer Engineer / Website Manager 802-274-3347 jal2633@rit.edu
Ben Davidson Mechanical Engineer 339-223-9656 bfd4542@rit.edu
Konrad Ahlin Mechanical Engineer 978-836-2843 kja1497@rit.edu
David Sachenik Electrical Engineer / Team Facilitator 716-698-7428 dms6502@rit.edu
David Yip Electrical Engineer / Lead Engineer 210-573-9096 dky1862@rit.edu

MSD I Documentation

Team Planning Conceptual Design System Design Detailed Design

Team Ethics Guideline

Continually Updated Risk Assessment

Meeting Notes

Customer Needs

Reference Materials

Team Evaluations

MSD I Gannt Chart

MSD I Project Tasks

MSD I Timeline / PDF


Reference Materials

Existing Designs

Concept Generation

Concept Ratings

System Design Invitation List

Functional Decomposition Brainstorm

Original Navigation Aid Block Diagram / PDF

Approved and Modified Navigation Aid Block Diagram / PDF

System Design

PowerPoint Presentation / PDF

Specifications Approved Update

Component Specifications

Data Sheets

Detailed Design Invitation List

EE/CE DDR Deliverables

EE/CE PowerPoint Presentation / PDF

ME PowerPoint Presentation / PDF

Bill of Materials

Purchase Orders

Updated Total Power Consumption

Component Interfaces

Spec Change Request

Inputs and Output Commands

Enclosures CAD Files

ME Other Files

Test Plan

Component Testing

(CE) Software Design

(EE) Schematics/PCB Design

MSD II Plan Timeline / PDF

MSD II Documentation

Team Planning Testing Final Product

Team Ethics Guideline

Continually Updated Risk Assessment

Completion Path Plan / PDF

Team Evaluations II

Final Bill of Materials

Lessons Learned from MSD I&II

Specifications Met/Future Considerations

Test Plan

Completed Component Testing

Matrix Keypad Test Documents

Li-Ion Test Documents

LSM303 Magnetometer Test Documents

Motor Test Documents

Reader/Antenna Test Documents

Microcontroller Documents

PCB Design Files

Navigation Aid RFID Tag Map Files

Path Algorithms and Data Structure

Keypad Interface Testing Files

PWM Motor Interface Testing Files

Magnetometer Testing Files

RFID Reader Testing Files

Pathfinding Algorithm Performance Testing Files

Assembly Notes

Mechanical Engineering Files

Software/Hardware Engineering Files & Documents

Electrical Engineering Files

Final Presentation / PDF

Technical Paper

Poster / PDF

Photo Gallery