To help the growing visually impaired population navigate their surroundings, we propose a low-cost device for the detection of obstacles using ultrasound technology. Existing “smart-canes” are largely add-on devices used in conjunction with the white cane and are significantly more costly than the traditional white cane. Our device, Enhancing Your Everyday Sight (EYES), is a handheld visual assistive tool that allows users with visual impairment to scan their surroundings at different levels in order to sense physical barriers, including ground elevation changes. EYES offers a similar experience as using a white cane by giving real-time haptic feedback in the form of vibrations within the handle. Distinct vibration patterns from within the handle inform the user of both the distance and height of obstacles. Using ultrasonic sensors to provide scanned input allows users to detect obstacles at ground level and chest level, distinguishing our device from the traditional white cane. Following market and user research and iterative prototype testing, we assembled our initial prototype with off-the-shelf electronics components and 3D-printed housing, thus demonstrating the feasibility of a market-ready product at a more affordable cost compared to existing solutions. After further development, this device may serve as an important tool in enabling more confidence, greater independence, and less stigma to the visually impaired community.

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