Category: Communicators

Blind Spot

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---- PROTOTYPE --------- PURPOSE: To design a prototype of a "smart" white cane that integrates a mobile phone, wireless technologies, and Bluetooth technology to improve the social lives of individuals who have low vision or are blind. BlindSpot appears to be an ordinary white cane but incorporates the features of a GPS-enabled smartphone with a tactile and audio interface to let a user walk more confidently while navigating social settings a little more easily than usual. BlindSpot offers a friend-finding feature that allows the user to alerted that friends and family are nearby through the specially designed phone that fits into the cane's handle and connects to a Bluetooth earpiece with an audio interface. A trackball on the handle controls the menu and points which way to go. Additionally, when a friend checks in on Foursquare (or any other location-sharing service), the cane alerts the user with an audio message, saying how far away the person is, including how many steps it will take to reach them. The cane offers the option to ignore, call the friend, or, find the friend by using a tactile navigator with a directional pointer that translates GPS map directions into an "arrow" that points towards the way to go. In addition to making navigation easier, the BlindSpot offers prevention against the user walking into obstacles through an ultrasonic sensor that detects obstacles, like hanging objects, rails, or other protruding structures that the ground-level sweep of a cane might miss. When the BlindSpot cane senses such an obstacle, it beeps a warning call in the Bluetooth earpiece. The BlindSpot electrical components detach from the cane to charge, cable-free, on an inductive charging dock. Additionally, when the phone component is not inserted, it acts just like a regular cell phone, so the user can accept calls without the Bluetooth headset, controlling the menu with the tactile track ball on the back. AUTHOR: Jacqueline Seng. TITLE: BlindSpot: Smart cane concept looks to future. WEBSITE: C|NET. REF: http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-57320692-1/blindspot-smart-cane-conc....

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as of: 
05/28/2013
Blind Spot