The Times of India | Adarsh Jain | TNN | Jul 19, 2017 |
COIMBATORE: A final year student of Sri Eshwar Engineering College and a research scholar of PSG College of Technology have been awarded Rs 10 lakh by the National Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB) to develop a path detector for visually challenged people. The innovators have developed a prototype and will be developing the final product using this grant. Santhiya Rajan and G Suresh of Sri Eshwar College of Engineering received communication from Naveen Vashishta, director of NSTEDB, informing them about the grant under National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovation programme (NIDHI). Santhiya is a final year student of electrical and electronics engineering at Eshwar College, and Suresh is a research scholar at PSGTech.
Suresh was earlier a faculty at Eshwar College and had collaborated with Santhiya to work on this project “The product is designed for blind people to navigate easily using electronics and micro-processor. It uses ultrasonic sensor and tactile feedback system to detect obstacles,” Santhiya said. The tool will help visually challenged to become self-dependent, said Santhiya. “To earn a living it is very essential for them to have a safe and independent mobility support. This project helps visually impaired people acclimatise with their environment,” she said. “A white cane does not help in identifying the path easily. It fails to detect obstacles above knee-level. Also, it does not provide any information about the kind of obstacle,” said Santhiya. The innovators also say that white cane users have difficulty detecting protruding bars (most white canes fail) or moving vehicles until they are dangerously close, which leads to collisions and falls. “The limited capability of the white cane corresponds to its length and a user’s manouvering skills. As such, users rarely detect overhanging obstacles at head-level or ranges further than approximately 1 m from the user,” said Suresh. To aid visually impaired people navigate more confidently, this smart cane called ‘path detector’ identifies obstacles within an average person’s focus area using ultrasonic sensors and a camera. “The ultrasonic sensors perceive the presence of obstacles while the camera distinguishes the obstacle,” Suresh said. The existence of human being in their vicinity is intimated by voice output and user is alerted of other impediments detected by ultrasonic sensors. In addition, this path detector functions as a Walkman and as a recorder. The device operates in two modes — indoor and outdoor. – Courtesy