Students from Haptics, Kinematics/Dynamics, and Modern Biomedical Technologies demonstrated their projects, April 25, 2014.
The Feasibility of Substituting a Cane with an Ultrasonic Sensor and a Haptic Display|
The use of a white cane by visually impaired individuals allows for blind travelers to obtain information about the environment via haptic feedback to the hand in order to avoid bodily collisions. The white cane has several drawbacks to its usage, including limiting sensory feedback to a cone in front of the user, limited range of proximity sensing, and taking up a free hand to operate the cane. Several devices have been developed that use sensors to provide haptic or auditory cues to blind travelers to identify obstacles. This project examined the advantages and disadvantages of these types of devices with respect to the traditional white cane to examine how effective each mechanism is at conveying environmental hazards to the blind traveler. A prototype with a haptic display (vibration motors) using an ultrasonic sensor was tested against a white cane on 11 participants. The participants were asked to maneuver through environmental hazards similar to what visually impaired individuals are faced with using both a white cane and the ultrasonic prototype. The hazards tested included a small curve, overhanging obstacles, solid objects and hollow objects. A two way ANOVA test showed that there is a significant relation between the ultrasonic cane and the walking cane with respect to completion time and umber of collisions.