Introduction: Ultrasonic Device to Enhance the Navigation of the Visually Impaired

About: A computer, drone, and Android savvy technician altruistically passionate about curing diseases as a future physician.

Our hearts go out to the underprivileged as we use our talents to improve technology and research solutions to improve the lives of the hurting. This project was solely created for that purpose.

This electronic glove uses ultrasonic detection to enhance the navigation of the visually impaired. The glove's functionality features a greater range than a walking-cane and is able to detect obstacles such as cars, people, walls, and trees. It will greatly enhance mobility and positional awareness by alternating a pinging sound that will signal the whereabouts of obstacles to the user.

Step 1: The Hardware

An Arduino Pro Mini was used for the on-board logic due to its compact size and range of input voltage (between 3.3 and 12 volts DC).

The HC-SR04 ultrasonic sensor was implemented, although another ultrasonic sensor with greater range would prove more useful in future projects.

A piezo buzzer was also implemented: the pitch and frequency of beeps can be altered via the Pro Mini. A vibration motor could be used to communicate with the user as well.

A FT232RL USB programmer was used as an interface to program the Arduino Pro Mini.

Any compact direct current power source will work given that its voltage is between 3.3 and 12.

Step 2: Uploading the Software

First, download the Arduino IDE.

You also need to download the FTDI driver here. Click on the link and scroll down to the "comments" column in the table. Download the executable setup for your operating system and then run the executable.

Match the FTDI programmer's voltage to the Pro Mini (3.3V or 5V) by adjusting the binding connector in the center of the board. Then insert the FTDI pins into the Pro Mini as the above pictures demonstrate. Connect the FTDI programmer to your computer via a USB cable.

Then open the .ino file that is attached to this presentation. In the IDE, select the Pro Mini as the type of chip you are using in the menu bar under "tools". After that, upload the program by selecting the arrow icon on the top left.

Alterations to the distance values in the provided code should be calibrated for optimal results.

Step 3: Connecting the Hardware

Connect the components as shown in the diagram above.

If not using regulated voltage, use the RAW pin for power input.

Next, glue or stitch the ultrasonic sensor beneath the two center knuckles (closer to the fingers of the glove).

Attach the Pro Mini went under the side of the wrist as shown in previous pictures. This positioning allows hand functionality as the electrical components do not interfere with the fingers or palm.

Step 4: Testing and Improving

Once powered, your sonar glove should be functional.

Feel free to adjust and improve on this project as it is 100% open source and free. I hope this project provides insight and inspiration for other projects designed to improve the lives of the underprivileged.

Also, feel free to share any improvements or thoughts in the comment section below.

Thank you for reading.