Picture of VIA (Visual Impairment Aid)
This project was my take on a DIY visual impairment aid that uses haptic and sound feedback. Basically it uses a distance sensor to measure how far objects are from it and then it beeps/vibrates accordingly (far away is slow vibrate/long beep delay and close up is fast vibrate/quick beeps). Real quick I'd like to acknowledge that I'm not the first to do something like this, but I have added many things to it that are different from designs I have seen. This isn't being used for commercial purposes but just as a guide for others to make them for people who would actually benefit from having them. The difference between this project and others is this project uses one distance sensor (as opposed to many) to make feedback more specific and simpler to interpret, use of both haptic and sound feedback, the mounting of the device under the arm and not attached to the hand (keeps it free to feel where you're going and use for daily tasks), and a few simple control buttons on the case (I also put the word for each button in braille next to them). What I really like about the design is how compact and sturdy it is. I wore it around for a few hours to get used to it and found it didn't hinder too many of my daily activities (I found it fit in sleeves too!). See it in action!

This project uses a 'kit' of electronics that can be purchased at any electronics store (like radioshack) and is a good beginner project into arduino/electronics. No programming skills are needed to do this project, as I have included my code! The case is 3D printed and I have included the files on thingiverse, but I have also uploaded it to Shapeways so anyone can order and have the custom enclosure to make this project.
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GopiR19 days ago

I really love ur project.

I m going to make this project for my final year diploma in computer engineering

my question is why u have used push buttons

Read :

For this program I use two buttons. One toggles between having the device give sound, haptic, or both types of feedback. The other button switches between long and short distance mode. That just means that in short distance mode the beeping/vibrating is scaled so it's easier to tell differences between things close up (<3 feet) and long distance mode makes it easier to tell things far away (~10 feet max).

akshay.d2111 days ago

Hi .. this is an amazing instructable and i thank you for sharing it ! :)

I have a doubt. Arduino micro is unavailable where i live and Online purchases are expensive ...

Can this project work with Arduino Pro mini ? :)


BurakTutal4 months ago

Nice project!

I made same one. But mine is telling the distance when a block appears in front of the ultrasonic sensor. You can check my project. :)


Wilfredmason48 months ago

Can you help me with step by step soldering?

defjedi11 months ago

Hi, cool idea & love the concept!

Tried to make one fr myself but faced certain hurdles. When i switch on the project, the vibrating motor will immediately vibrate. Connections are followed and uploaded the program but im using Arduino Nanov3 (which i've been told is similar to Arduino Micro). Hope you can help...would appreciate it! :)

raimisX1 year ago

Hello again, I'm sorry to disturb you again but I was wondering if you could help me a little - In this project im using 4-pin HC-SR04 sensor instead of ping. Could you please explain to me how to change the code for this particular sensor if its possible. (im thinking that I could use echo pin as ping pin mentioned in code)

tiongson1 year ago

can i use arduino uno or any arduino to make this project????????

As far as I know, yes you could use any of the Arduino boards, you'll only face two problems. Firstly, you'll have to configure the Arduino pins to match the pins that are used in this 'ible (Arduino Micro). Secondly, the reason behind using the Arduino Micro is that it can fit into the 3D-printed case. If you used a larger Arduino board, I don't think it will fit good. Good luck!

raimisX1 year ago
First of all, I really love your work, I'm making this for my friend, but there is only one question.
Doesn't ultrasound sensor work only for perpendicular flat surfaces?
I have built prototype using different code and It seems to work only with perpendicular surfaces.
Patrick S (author)  raimisX1 year ago
It works for some non-perpendicular, flat surfaces, but yeah it definitely is limited by that. You could try using IR sensors or another kind of distance sensor instead, I just used ultrasound because they are cheap, widely available, and easy to use with arduino.
oagusta1 year ago
Hiii, can i replace the Micro with Nano v.3 although they has different pin out configuration? and Which pin should I adjust to use with Arduino Nano V3 ? coz hard to find Micros in Indonesia. Please help me I am new in Arduinos :) Thanks
I had the same problem which I couldn't find the Arduino Micro, as Mizchief100 told me, you can use any Arduino board you like, he just chose the Arduino Micro as it has a suitable size to fit in the case. He said that anyone of them would work, but you only need to specify the PWM pins to be sure that you're making the connections right.
dante05161 year ago
Hi mate, I'm facing a problem in the programming stage, It came out with an error says "Found programmer: Id = "BRc"; type = ; Software Version = .; Hareware Version = .; avrdude: error: buffered memory access not supported. Maybe it isn't a butterfly/AVR109 but a AVR910 device?"
Have you ever got this kind of problem? Do you know how to solve it? Cheers
Or the shoes if you can try. Show me proof if it doesn't work and I will pay the expenses up to $150
Mizchief100 could you try to make a pair of glasses that have 1 or 2 sensors in it and it vibrates or beeps to say if you are about to hit your head? Also can you make me one of these I will pay up to $100 for this one and idk for the glasses if you make them. I want to give it to this blind kid at my school who is graduating as a graduation present.
ahoosein941 year ago
Hey how are you i attempted to do this project, the vibrating motor works fine, but the buzzer does not work at all. The motor switch is connected to pin 4 and the buzzer is to pin 3. The ping does not even send out signals when only the buzzer is connected, but it works when only the motor is connected. any idea?
chetancc2 years ago
Hi Mizchief100, can u please tell me more information about Making the Enclosure? I am interested to know how this enclosure design become physical object.
Patrick S (author)  chetancc2 years ago
I made the enclosure using a 3D printer, the Makerbot Replicator 2.
zvaldez2 years ago
I would like to improve this project by creating another prototype that deals with ground obstacles. as I study your outstanding work you still can't us it outside on ground terrains. the problem is i still don't have any idea on how will the outline be :) do you have any suggestions? I'll gladly appreciate it
Patrick S (author)  zvaldez2 years ago
Ooh, you could try something like shoes that has the distance sensors built into the toes and vibrates the feet if they are about to come into contact with something! Hope that helps :)
ezelycool2 years ago
I have one question,can we make it using Arduino UNO ????? please reply fast!!!!
Patrick S (author)  ezelycool2 years ago
Yep, it just won't fit in as small of a casing.
hi i have a doubt is it possible to use a arduino pro micro board.
Patrick S (author)  Arvind Ramesh2 years ago
Yep! You just have to make sure you wire the motor to two PWM pins on the micro board. You may have to switch a few numbers in the code, but it should be doable.
qblack12 years ago
Awesome project, and I love the 3D printed case. I printed mine, and it came out perfect (one timer!). I think the wiring diagram may have an error, or alternatively the Arduino code. The speaker pin is defined as 9 in the code, but in your diagram it is 11. The vibrating motor pins are 10 and 11 in the code, but are 9 and 10 in the diagram. I just changed the physical pins to 9 for speaker, and 10 and 11 for the motor and it worked famously.
Great explanations for everything. Thanks again.
qblack1 qblack12 years ago
Here's my breadboarded test version with 3D printed box.
photo (2).JPGphoto (2).JPG
Patrick S (author)  qblack12 years ago
Sweet! Glad to see someone is trying it!! That looks really good, and yeah I think I switched something in the code I'll be sure to fix it.
hackery212 years ago
I have a patent on this. Sorry. I also entered it in an instructables contest a while back.
Patrick S (author)  hackery212 years ago
Do you mean a license on an instructable? Yours said it had no license and was also deleted so I'm not sure if that's what your talking about. Message me.
No, not a license on an instructable, A legal patent.
Sorry, not buying it.

Hackery21, you posted to the instructables forum in March 2013 asking for instruction and help on making this device (http://www.instructables.com/community/How-to-make-an-Ultrasonic-Proximity-Sensor-w-Vibr/).

Caitlinsdad pointed you to an instructable made in 2009: http://www.instructables.com/id/Bats-Have-Feelings-Too/

Similar to this, back in 2008, was: http://www.instructables.com/id/Ultrasonic-Batgoggles/

Both of these are licensed as "Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike (by-nc-sa)" this means that you can "This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. Others can download and redistribute your work just like the by-nc-nd license, but they can also translate, make remixes, and produce new stories based on your work. All new work based on yours will carry the same license, so any derivatives will also be non-commercial in nature."

This means that you don't own a patent. You just paid for one for the fun of it. 
I have a legal patent, and messaged it to mischief. If he wishes, he can share it with you. The post I made was for an issue I was having when building it. All the hardware was mostly done, I needed help with the code. I have a legal patent on the hardware. Sorry for any confusion.
Hi hackery21, I'm the author of the haptic range-finding device in the intro. I've done a search of the US patent office and been unable to find your patent. Would you mind sharing the patent number here? Since patents are part of the public record there should be no problem with sharing the information freely.
Due to the fact that its a provisional patent, It is not in the public records.
Hey Mizchief100, read my response to hackery21 below.

Side note: I like this instructable very much, and have been considering something similar for a friend who has sight limitations. I appreciate your presenting this to the Instructables community at large.
Patrick S (author)  The Green Gentleman2 years ago
Cool, let me know how it goes if you decide to build one!
Samw hackery212 years ago
Does that mean that someone is not able to open source their own plans for making something similar?
hackery21 Samw2 years ago
Technically yes. You have to understand business. You see, If I have people posting how to make it, Other companies can copy it, and change a few details about it, and then sell it. You have no idea how many companies get their ideas from instructables.
SumGie2 years ago
Cool project.

This is called a sensory translation device. It changes sound (ultrasonic) into touch (vibration).

I did something similar as part of a team senior project at DeVry. Ours translated video into vibration, in a grid on the chest.
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