NavCane [smart cane]

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Scholarly level: 
Undergraduate student
Date created: 
ENSC 440
Assistive technology
Smart canes

Imagine navigating the world with only a cane and the basic feedback it provides to guide you. Many accidents, trips and falls are caused by obstacles impeding the path of visually impaired individuals. The basic white cane will not give feedback about obstacles outside its range, what the obstacle is, or how it can be avoided. Overhanging obstacles or obstacles above the waist are never detected until it is too late. Our design will give individuals the freedom to pilot their routes safely and efficiently, by providing forewarning and steering them away from the obstacle. The NavCane will spur independent mobility, encourage the visually impaired to venture into new settings, and reduce accidents.

The NavCane will either be in the form of a completely modified cane or a module that can attach to any previously owned mobility cane. It will extend the features of a conventional mobility cane and perform a variety of features being considered, including obstacle avoidance, smartphone integration, indoor navigation, and hazardous obstacle detection by providing nonintrusive haptic feedback to the user. In this proposal we discuss the advantages and disadvantages of different realizations of the project, consider multiple features and implementations, analyze the costs of each section of the project, and discuss our desired outcomes for the NavCane.


Undergraduate Engineering students are required to complete a group-based, two-course capstone sequence: ENSC 405W and ENSC 440.  Groups form company structures and create an innovative product that potentially acts as a solution to a real-life problem.  This collection archives the following assignments: proposal, design specifications, requirements specifications, and proof of concept.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
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