For my undergraduate thesis 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 physical guides and receive contextual auditory cues about their surroundings to locate their destinations.
 The developed smart cane had a unique folding mechanism to protect the electronics from wear and tear. The handle was sculpted to be comfortable and easily oriented in the hand.
  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 contextual information to the user.
Screen Shot 2017-12-30 at 2.12.43 PM.png
 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 to educate myself in the challenges of living with a visual impairment and navigating unfamiliar spaces with their primary tool, the White Cane.
 The handle form was developed using a range of handle prototypes from wood to high density foam to 3D printed prototypes surfaced in Solidworks.
 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.
prev / next