A ray of light for the Mumbai's visually impaired
Four students at the KJ Somaiya Polytechnic College have created a device that promises to radically alter the way blind men and women navigate the city’s roads. The new gadget — a walking stick, which comes with a special glove — has a sensor that sets off an alarm and vibrates if there is an obstacle ahead.
The students who invented the walking stick for the blind with their head of the department Dr SG Kolte. Pic/ Kranti Vibhute
Vishal Mishra, Manthan Patwa, Vivek Matale and Vinesh Desai, all third year diploma students of computer engineering, have christened their creation, the ‘Eye stick navigation system’. The stick has four sensors — three that detect obstacles and one other sensor for ground level detection. The team members are in the process of patenting the product.
The students said they have decided to donate the first few sticks to an organisation that works for the blind in Worli. Once the prototype is perfected, it will be ready for mass production. Mishra, a member of the team, said, “This gadget is especially designed to detect obstacles well in time and alert the user. The ground level sensors are there to warn users if there is a staircase, pothole or manhole ahead. There is one more feature on the stick called a panic switch.
In case a user is in trouble, they can press the panic switch that triggers off LED lights and alerts others around them about their plight.” His colleague Manthan Patwa, said, “We are working on a buzzer apart from the LED light. This way even if someone does not see the LED signal, they may hear the buzzer.”
Matale, another member of the project, said, “Our professors Dr SG Kolte and Nikhil Parmar guided us a lot.” When contacted, Kolte, the head of the department, said, “Our students have won the first prize in the state level competition held in February. They also stood first in two other competitions. We are proud of them.”