Statistics about falls caused by visual impairment:
“People with visual impairments are more than twice as likely to fall as people without visual impairments. In addition to risk factors that are experienced by the aged in general, older people with visual impairments have a unique set of factors that place them at greater risk of falling.”
“Vision is known to have a major role in successful stair and steps negotiation,6,8,35,36 and, hence, stairs and kerbs are the most common environmental hazard associated with a fall in older people with visual impairment (30% of all hazard-related falls).37”
“Sight impairment in older people is associated with increases in the incidence of falls and hip fractures. Compared to the general older population, this group is 1.7 times more likely to fall, 1.9 times more likely to have multiple falls and 1.3–1.9 times more likely to experience hip fractures.”
What it does
We wanted to create something that had a social impact. Our cross-disciplinary backgrounds allowed us to think outside the box and work together on a project that spanned across our interests while utilizing computer science methodology. We focused on how our experiences intersected in the field of hardware, and how we could apply these concepts to make something user-friendly and relevant. We decided to utilize ultrasonic sensors to help register the distance between the foot and the ground. The device will vibrate if the time it takes for the pulse to come back is long enough(to indicate lower elevation). The device is a useful safety precaution for those who are visually impaired. This will help prevent injuries due to falling / stepping into incoming obstacles (frontal sensors).
How we built it
The code we used was based on ultrasonic signals and echo signals. We then used pulseIn to connect the breadboard to the Arduino and program it. We generated the output on our computers to register the distance the object was from the echo-sensor. We translated this signal to vibrations that indicate how far the object is (vibrates when distance from sensor is > 5 inches). We also 3D printed clips to attach the device to the user's shoe(we utilize OnShape to design the clips).
Challenges we ran into
3D printing different models with unexpected size differences.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
3D printing our design and getting the arduino to work because it was the first time for most of us.
What we learned
How to use the arduino, 3d modeling with OnShape and programming for the arduino. (Everything we did, because we all came in with different knowledge and disciplines)
What's next for WearThese!
We are planning to make it smaller (the size we have now is limited by the technology and supplies we have), make it more aesthetically pleasing, more ergonomic, more user friendly(more user research/testing) and accessible.
Battery design is just adhoc since we want to compress it in the future, if ever we make a marketable piece like this
Implement it with other technologies such as integrating it to warn about specific objects
Add voice recognition so that the blind can also find the device when they are not with the device.
Features connecting to wifi and object recognition (teaching it to only warn for certain things or tell the user what he/she is running into).
Can be converted to whole body protection system, so that the blind can eliminate the use of the walking stick.