DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION OF A VISUAL AID: ELECTRONIC WALKING STICK FOR THE VISUALLY IMPAIRED
Visually impaired individuals have a very important goal of moving through unfamiliar spaces or situations without any form of aid. For easy movement in both familiar and unfamiliar environments, there are various methods devised to aid visually impaired individuals, examples of these methods are the use of walking canes, use of guide dogs which assist in navigation or by the help of another human with perfect sight. However, some of these methods have their shortcomings in terms of their efficiency. For example, the ordinary walking stick is unable to detect obstacles in its path except by direct contact with the obstacle, has limited range of obstacle detection, cumbersome to maneuver in overcrowded environment, and has long mastery time. The aim of this project is to design and construct an electronic walking aid for the blind capable of detecting obstacles within a four-meter range and promptly alert the user. The obstacle detection component selected was an ultrasonic sensor due to its ready availability and a PIC18F4550 microcontroller was used for the programming chip. The system uses two ultrasonic sensors, a PIC18F4550 microcontroller an ISD chip integrated together for the entire system to detect obstacles in front of it effectively. The system was developed using Proteus 8 professional software from Labcenter Electronics. The software was developed using mikroC for PIC software application. The components selected, design of the circuit and packaging of the device was done to make the circuit as reliable, durable, efficient and as cheap as possible. It is recommended that Bluetooth should be added to eliminate the use of wired earpiece, in addition to providing a GPS unit to alert the user of the accurate distance of the obstacle.
Authors : Isimhonya, O.I., Mumba, J. and Edeko, F.O.
Category : Open Access Volume (Issue) : 9(1) Date Uploaded : 10th May 2023