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Smart White Cane Project

By Unassigned Robot - Posted on 01 September 2010


Developing a better white cane for blind people.
The ultimate goal is to be able to navigate Tokyo without being run over.

vip = visually impaired person

Digital Compass
Vibrating feedback
Voice recognition
Speech synthesis
Solar rechargeable
Bone-conducting headphones

Have a "compass" circle on the cane or something that constant puts out a
tiny tangible signal indicating what direction you are.

Giving directions (using a map and the GPS) via speech synthesis (ie: You are now on Megi-dori, turn left).

Communication with morse code via vibration

AR for blind (using digital marker paint on the street). would need a pico-itx computer and webcam to decode the marker. might be a problem during winter or if the street gets really dirty. what's nice about this solution is that anyone equipped with a cellphone camera could finally know the name of the street and other informations...

Another useful technology would be a radio transmitted device for signaling that a vip wants to cross the street (starting the tune).

Taylan Ayken offered to lend a GPS module

Small piezo or speaker

IR range sensor 15$:
could be useful to detect drop (short range)

Bone-conducting headphone 110$:

Ultrasonic 26$:

GPS (Taylan Ayken) 64$:

GPS 60$:

GPS, digital compass, and 3-axis accelerometer ?$:

Voice recognition 58$:

Speech synthesis 25$:
if wearable computer ->

Ambient Light Sensor 1.50$:
Always nice to know if people can see you (if it's pitch black outside). Maybe turning on automagically a led.

Temperature Sensor (KTY-13-5):
Well, this one is more a gadget, someone could ask (voice recognition) for the actual temperature.

Flexible solar panel (26$)

Small wearable computer +-235$:
With this solution, it would be more simpler (voice recognition/synthesis) in many ways, but more heavy (battery). Also it would be possible to use a small camera (providing more information) like facial recognition (is there a human around me, facial expression), object recognition etc. Like my biscuit box computer (, sadly it needs 23 watts. Of course there are other solution (i am sure less power hungry).


* a wire led would be better instead of a single led
** possibility to use a webcam for image processing
*** the battery inside the cane might not be needed if using a usb cable to connect the cane with the pico-itx (telephone wire with usb connector)
**** it would be nice to avoid a wire connection with the cane using a bluetooth module for example:
***** maybe adding a wheel
****** is yellow tracking color a good idea (am i still on the vip track)

Time: giving the actual time
Temperature: reading the sensor
Light: is it pitch black
Current location: where am i
Directions: pre-programmed places
Music: put some music in the speaker
Beep: i am behind you and you are working on my yellow track

Global Positioning System satellites accuracy is about 10 feet (three metres)

The WHO estimates that in 2002 there were 161 million visually impaired people in the world (about 2.6% of the total population).

Synthetic intelligence (to be release in 2011) - price unknown:

Wearable computer helps blind people navigate:

Mobile OCR, Face and Object Recognition for the Blind


Decipher outdoor scenes



How to hook-up a rechargeable battery to a pico-itx? would it be possible (as an option) to add a solar panel for reducing the power consumption from the battery?

right now, i have spotted this battery rated 14.4V 5200mah:

with this charger:

and ldo voltage regulator:

or this one:

this regulator:

Tuesday (7:30 PM)
Open House Meeting
水曜日 (7:30 PM)
日本語 Meeting

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