P14043: Smart Cane

Planning & Execution

Table of Contents

Project Summary

Safely and easily navigating the physical world can be challenging for the estimated 42,000 to 700,000 individuals with some level of both vision and hearing loss. The most common solutions used today are white canes and guide animals, however both of these conventional solutions have their drawbacks and limitations.

There has also been much research and development into more advanced devices, including a patented "smart cane" that detects obstacles and warns the user with a rumbling haptic handle. Other advanced cane designs depend on providing audio feedback to the user from sensors on the cane. These devices allow for a larger range of obstacle detection than a conventional cane or guide animal alone. However, downfalls exist when audio canes are used in noisy environments and for users with significant hearing loss. Prototypes of these devices also tend to be bulky, heavy and needing further refinement to meet the needs and expectations of the target population.

This project will focus on designing a white cane with sensors that will detect obstacles in front of and to the sides of the user. The handle will then help warn and guide the user around the obstacle with clearly directional haptic feedback. The cane will also physically resemble a conventional cane and will be able to be operated intuitively for a deaf-blind user. This means the user will still be able to sweep, tap and feel the ground with the cane. Simply put, the system will have the ability to tell a user which way to go to avoid an upcoming obstacle, almost combining the benefits of guide animals and canes.

At the end of the project schedule, the team will have a working prototype of the cane, the associated design drawings, algorithms and all necessary documentation. There will also be compiled data and presentable results from testing the prototype with deaf-blind/blind users.

Throughout the design process, the team will continually reevaluate the design with the customers, as well as an Advisory Board chaired by the Director of the NTID Center on Access Technology. The team will also work with the Helen Keller International Organization for testing guidelines and resources to evaluate the device. A budget of $750 has also been set by the customer.

Intellectual Property Considerations

Colombian SmartCane Patent
Colombian SmartCane

Colombian SmartCane

Customer's Patent

Team Norms & Values

Created in MSD I, and to be updated in MSD II or as needed, we will update our Code of Ethics.

Project Plans & Schedules

The linked gantt chart shows our project plan for the semester.

Our guide, Gerald Garavuso, provided our team with major milestones with quality metrics

Risk Assessment

Risk Assessment

Peer Reviews

The following document presents our tri-weekly peer assessment criteria: Peer Review

Project Reviews

Week 3 Plus Delta Review

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