As my final thesis project at Carleton University, I wanted to develop a product that would have in-depth research opportunities. I decided to design a navigation system for the visually impaired.
 Knowing that the White Cane was fundamental to navigation, I developed a system that added functionality to this familiar tool and would increase the indepence of the user.
 The user could follow these paths and receive contextual information about their surroundings, as well as voice dictation to locate their desired destinations.
 My smart cane had a unique folding design to protect the electronics from wear and tear.
  The system used NFC (Near Field Communication) tags embedded in a strip that would be rolled out on floors of indoor spaces. This feature would provide tactile support and textual information to the user.
 In my research of navigation technology, I realized that indoor navigation devices were lacking for the visually impaired community. Most navigation technology revolved around the user of GPS systems, which doesn't work for indoor navigation. 
 Other devices relayed no contextual information which is important for independent navigation.
 Here is a visualization of how the system worked and the feedback loop it generates for the user.
 I consulted with CNIB (Canadian National Institute for the Blind) to educate myself in the challenges of living with a visual impairment and navigating unfamiliar spaces with their primary tool: the White Cane.
 A range of handle prototypes were developed from wood to high density foam to 3D printed prototypes.
 It was important that the handle was comfortable and easy to orient in the hand. The handles were tested for feedback and refinement.
 The product was developed with consideration for manufacturing and could be engineered into a real working product.
Finaldrawingpg1.jpg
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