As engineers, it is our job to fix something that is broken, or replace it with something better. Usually, these issues arise in man-made creations. A constant process of repair, refurbish, replace, redesign is what has brought mankind to it’s current state; those are all reworks of problems created by man as a side-effect of creating his comforts. But what about problems that have nothing to do with man’s progress? What about issues that would persist regardless of man’s endeavours?
One such issue, the issue of visual impairment, also called as blindness, is what I had aimed to tackle in my undergrad project for my engineering degree. There have been a lot of devices available to the victims of such an impairment but they all come at the expense of a part of the person’s lifestyle. Such devices are usually handheld or worn on the head; they can be rather uncomfortable for multiple reasons.
The final working prototype of my project moves all of the sensing, computation and alerting away from the vital areas to the areas with maximum endurance – the feet. The product is a pair of shoes laced with ultrasonic sensors for obstacle detection. The computation is done using an Arduino Mega2560 and a custom shield. The user is alerted using two pairs of vibrating members that could be worn in the front and back trouser pockets. The blog-post introducing the project is not a complete description of it, but the whole process of engineering the device from start to end will be explained in a series of posts.
The project is completely open source and the entire thing will be made available online for makers to improve upon. We would encourage you to undertake projects like these for undergrad credit so that some day true equality could be achieved by tinkerers like us.
For electronic engineers
Are you an electronic engineer? In that case, we would like you to retain personal blogs explaining your undergrad projects/any major project you’ve undertaken. When that is done, you could “tip” us so that we could feature your work here on ElectronicsBlog so that you gain recognition in our viewer-base.
For hobbyists/aspiring engineers
Do let us in on your work too. We’re here to assist if needed. We’d love to make you known for your work too…