We ran into some news from different countries of how blind members are being affected by the pandemic, and the limitation the have and are still experiencing having to adapt to social distancing. This was a sign that the problem was big. Blind or visually impaired people don’t have the opportunity to adapt to the "new normal" so easily because this community is predominantly reliant on touch. Their guide dogs don’t understand distancing signs and their guiding canes can’t feel them. All these conditions have made some blind member feel disoriented and stuck with their independence, which can even led to stress, self-isolation or even anxiety.
What it does
My Distance is a portable device that can be adapted to blind peoples canes to help them maintain a 6ft distance from others. It emits a vibration to let them when they are getting to close to someone else and avoid them getting into other people space by mistake. We intend that with this device they could can now stand in a line, take public transportation, cross the street or simply with the confident that they are not mistakenly invading someone else space and at the same time protecting their own.
How We built it
The device is build with an Arduino UNO, which control 2 sensors and a motor. An ultrasound sensor to detect anything at a distance <= 60ft, a passive IR sensor to identify if we are detecting a human or not and a motor to give a signal to the user. All this elements are programs with Arduino. For virtual purposes we ran a simulation of the project in Tinkercad.
Challenges We ran into
The hardest part was to create a physical project online, there are a lot of test and troubleshooting that can't be done with a simulator. Many factors as accuracy, adjusting sensibility of sensors and range needs to be tested and adjusted with a product in person.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
We are proud of proposing a simple solution that may contribute to ease the fulfillment of safety measurements and provide independence for the visually impaired.
What I learned
There is no excuse to avoid solving a problem, it only took a few hours to dig down an impactful solution.
What's next for My Distance
Develop the product in person, ran several test and make the necessary adjustments for it to be completely safe and functional for a person.