CarrotCane is a DIY cane attachment to assist the blind and visually impaired.
Created for TinoHacks II, April 21-22 2018
While we were experimenting with the capabilities of the Arduino hardware, we realized that we could create a product that is both impactful and interesting to develop. One of our previous attempts to aid the visually impaired with only software proved ineffective, so we decided to start over from scratch with more capable hardware and software integrations to create a more enticing product prototype.
What it does (Feature List)
- Automatic detection of nearby objects with audible alarm and feedback when approaching too quickly
- Attach a smartphone to provide live GPS tracking and photo/video feed
- Online supervisor console- monitor GPS position and manage hardware settings online
How we built it
CarrotCane runs on a Node.js server with Socket.io, with Arduino hardware and a mobile interface written in Ionic. We created an averaging algorithm which can effectively determine oncoming obstacles or objects moving towards the user. This is accomplished using the HC-SR04 ultrasonic sensor in addition to LCD 2004 Panel and corresponding buttons. We also utilized two Arduino Uno boards which communicate with each other via Inter-Integrated Circuit Serial Bus(I²C), in which one board handles communication with the web platform while the other receives sensor inputs and display outputs. Additionally, Geolocation feature and video related features are created using Ionic framework, and it allowed us to acquire accurate GPS coordinates of the user.
Challenges we ran into
During our prototyping stage, we encountered a wide variety of hardware faults, including pin shortouts, display malfunctions, and voltage deficiencies throughout the power supply rails. In addition, interfacing between many different inputs and outputs over the web proved a difficult task that took hours to sort out completely.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We were able to create a fully functional menu system that could be navigated via the hardware display in addition to the software features.
What we learned
Since this is our first hardware project during a hackathon, we learned the difficulty of interconnectivity between hardware and software.
What's next for CarrotCane
While the current product is only a representative prototype, we believe it has very realistic potential to be developed into a finished product with the help of more refined technologies such as PCBs and 3D printing fabrication.