PEOPLE with vision impairment may not be able to see, but a recently devised walking stick formulated in Arusha, has ultrasound capability packed with artificial intelligence to allow them get 'AI' vision guidance on the road.
The 'electronic blind stick' was invented by two students, Fakii Ibrahim and Samuel Stewart, both taking 'Biomedical Engineering' at the Arusha Technical College (ATC) and displayed the wand at the specialArusha-held science symposium, organised by ATC in conjunction with Clemson University of the United States.
Powered by ‘AA’ sized dry batteries, the Arusha-devised blind stick is an innovative stick designed with Artificial Intelligence (AI) for improved navigation.
“It is an advanced blind stick that allows visually challenged people to navigate with ease using cutting-edge technology,” explained one of the inventing students, Ibrahim.
He stated that the blind stick is integrated with ultrasonic sensor along with, obstacles, light and water sensing capabilities.
“Our proposed project first uses ultrasonic sensors to detect obstacles ahead using ultrasonic waves. On sensing obstacles the sensor passes this data to the microcontroller.
The micro-controller then processes this data and calculates if the obstacle is close enough.” Apparently, should the obstacle be not that close, the circuit in the stick does nothing.
If the obstacle is close the microcontroller sends a signal to sound a buzzer. It also detects and sounds a different alarm if it detects water and alerts the blind and another if the holder comes close a pit, hole or gulley.
“One more feature is that it allows the blind to detect if there is light or darkness in the room and should the blind person lose the stick, any remote control device can active a sound from the wand,” he said.
Mr Thadei Thomas, a resident of Kwa-Mrombo, is blind and was given one of such sticks for a test and he gave feedback that it worked like charm and that the ATC should complete the research so that many such gadgets should be made available to all people with impaired sight.