WalkAssist - A versatile smart-strap for the visually challenged Updated on 26th June 2019

Project Description

Using WalkAssist, a person with vision related disorders can easily detect obstacles upfront and find out how far away are they using familiar sound. Unlike other smart cane or similar products which boast to provide flexibility of movement but result in scratching surrounding surfaces, potential fall hazard etc., WalkAssist Strap enables no hassle of carrying or forgetting the so-called smart cane. WalkAssist is designed to be a wearable-electronic walking aid which can be worn just like a necklace or strapped around an arm, lower-leg, chest or like a waist-belt.

Typical Use-case

How It Works
As seen in the figure the person walking in a typical house-hold needs to avoid or know if there are objects nearby or how far are they. The project is divided into the three modules each designed to do a specific task. First module ensures system is up-and-running and initlizes the start of the detection engine. Second module is the detection engine which uses an optimized algorithm to know the object-type, distance, and alert urgency. Third module analyzes the data gathered over-time and does its analysis on improving the detection variables for environment adaptation, optimizing power consumption by turn on / off the various power related mode prolonging battery life etc.

Recent Updates

Prototyping
Been few days since the inception and a prototype has been prepared and being tested. It works the way it should however there are few design considerations that needs to be looked into. First one is about what mechanism suits best for alerting the person from available mechanisms such as haptic feedback or sound. I choose sound as it can be modulated at various frequencies and duration control can be precisely set. Second design consideration is about the proximity vs alert intensity. This is important for obvious reasons but still the structure of the same needs careful consideration to ensure the experience is userfriendly and intuitive. Third and last one is the package design to have various wear / attachment-configrations tested.

Dated:
17-07-2019

Genesis
In my opinion, technology's main use is to help humans in any which way possible which enhances the value of human life. While usual routine work, came accoss a problem and a solution at the same time. One of my family member suffer from visual impairment and is unable walk without bumping into various things accross the house. I was thinking about the situation from medical point of view and wonder about how doctors or medical science is unable to treat such ailments when condition is quite worse. Suddenly it hit me! What if technology comes for the rescue? Maybe without its bells and whistles and just a simple solution to the problem? WalkAssit was born.

Dated:
17-06-2019

Timelines

Prototype implementation using IoT hardware and software. First successful range-measurement and sound system integration done.

25-06-2019

Ideation of the concept for WalkAssist system requirements, hardware requirements and software aspects.

25-06-2019

Important Links

Interesting read on number of visually challenged citizens in india and accross the globe.

Web Article (TOI)

25-06-2019

Resources

No resources available to download yet. Stay tuned.