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Engineering students make ‘smart stick’ to assist visually impaired

Udaipur : Two BTech final year students from electrical stream , in a private college, have facilitated sensors and GPS in a normal walking stick to transform it into a ‘Smart Stick’ which would help the visually disabled persons to commute easily. Garvit Paliwal and Sumit Sharma, both engineering students from Udaipur, have developed a sensor enabled walking stick for the visually impaired.

The cost of a smart stick has been estimated around 8 thousand rupees, however, the young engineers claim, if manufactured on large level, the cost price would come down to a great extend. Telling about the inspiration behind the innovation, Garvit says he had been watching an old blind beggar outside a temple in his neighborhood who have been collecting money for his eye operation. However, the old man had been unable to do so for many years and his difficulties in leading a dark life, made Garvit think of some innovation to help visually impaired people.

Enabling technology for the purpose, the two students from Udaipur’s Aravali Institute of Technical Studies have attached sensors and GPS in a normal walking stick. This smart stick facilitates ease in navigating for the visually impaired by alerting them of their surroundings using sensors. The sensor identify the presence of an object in the close vicinity of the user with the stick and triggers an alert, in the form of a beep sound and vibration.

As darkness envelopes the surroundings, the sensors power on a light on the stick, enabling people around to see the person and avoid collision. The smart stick comes with an adapter for charging which is completed in 1.5 hours and the device works for 10 hours. “ Usually any visually impaired person would need the stick only for commutation and when not in use, it can be kept in a switch off mode to save battery” Sumit informed.

The device is fitted with GPS. This device lets the users pair it with their smart phones, making integration with voice assistant and Google Maps possible. This feature can also alert a nearby police station if the user is in any form of difficulty. Garvit and Sumit are working on fine tuning the device to add additional features as well.They are also approaching institutions to sponsor them for wider level production of the device in the interest of the society.

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