Smart Cane for the Blind Using RFID Technology Detects Obstacles, Provides Navigation Help

August 12, 2009

Some engineering students at Central Michigan University have developed a cane that offers additional assistance to people who are visually impaired. The Smart Cane detects obstacles and provides navigation cues by using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology which is similar to the technology used in preventing merchandise theft.

The Smart Cane is a walking cane with an ultrasonic sensor attached. This is paired with a messenger-style shoulder bag which contains a mini-navigational system. The cane and the navigation system work together to detect RFID tags located on flags on the ground. A speaker in the bag alerts the user when an obstacle is detected and also tells the user which way to move.

The engineering students tested the system with volunteers. The recommendations of the volunteers will be combined with the data from the current student team and passed on to future students teams – with the goal of creating a fully functional system that can be implemeneted at CMU.

Read the press release.




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