[AI] modified stick for visually chalenged

l pavan l.pavan.get at gmail.com
Sun Jun 22 11:49:02 EDT 2008

hello list members i have read this artical while i was searching for
some thing on the net.
i thought that it would be informative to you all and so iam mailing
this to the list if you know about this pls ignore.
Modified stick for the visually challenged
Student Awards

Sanket V. Chitagopakar and Prashant V. Harshangi
City: Gulbarg
State: Karnataka

Sanket V. Chitagopakar (17) and Prashant V. Harshangi (17) are from
Gulbarga, Karnataka. They are both in the second year of their Pre
University Course.
Prashant's parents are doctors and his brother is studying medicine.
Sanket's father is a doctor and his mother is a housewife. His brother
is studying
in the tenth standard.


It was on the 17th of July, 2002 and Gulbarga city had received the
first showers of the year. There were puddles everywhere and Sanket
happened to observe
that a blind man who was walking by with a stick fell in one. It was a
sad sight. The next day Sanket discussed this incident with his friend
and they conceived the idea for the stick.

Under the guidance of their teacher Mr. R. Hemant of the
Sharnabasaveshwar Public School Gulbarga, they contacted Prof. Y.N.
Ravindra who gave them a brief
idea of the circuit and they started the project. Both relate that
they faced a number of technical problems while developing the
innovation. The main
hitches were in fixing the circuit onto the stick and fixing the IR
sensors and IR LEDS. They acknowledge the guidance of Prof. Y.N.
Ravindra who gave
them many useful tips and hints, which made the development easier.
After days of hard work they prepared the circuit and the model. Next,
the prototype
was given to the local blind school for testing. The students of the
blind school found the innovative stick more convenient than the
existing alternative.


Multiplexers are used to sense obstacles in different directions
simultaneously. This means, the blind person might receive different
signals on obstacles
in different directions around him through the headphone. The moisture
sensing electrodes sense the moist soil or stagnant water. This can be
helpful during the rainy season. It also contains micro-switches, to
detect manholes. Finally, in order to make the system more versatile,
an anti-theft
alarm is also incorporated to warn the user if the stick is being
stolen. It is known that in most of the visually challenged, the other
sense organs are
highly developed. That's why the creators think the stick will
effectively serve the purpose. They haven't made any move to
commercialise it. This device
costs Rs.800.

Social relevance

Blind people totalling over 1.5 million have difficulty in travelling
and successfully sensing obstacles, manholes and puddles of stagnant
water. They need
support for all their activities. They need a third leg i.e. the stick
to walk. One of the primary problems faced by the visually challenged
is to walk
freely in a public place. The outside world is rife with dangers
especially when they leave their dwelling place, as they may fall down
and injure themselves
or stumble against an electric pillar or meet with an accident. Thus
this innovative stick has great social impact as every visually
handicapped is a potential
user. Considering the various features and its superiority over the
existing alternative even at the present cost, this stick is an
essential accessory
for blind people as it greatly enhances their mobility.

Other applications of this innovation could be its use by sewage
workers, miners etc or in situations where light is dim/not available
or for military applications
where the need is to move around without using any light source. While
such sticks are generally known in literature, the specific
combination of features
such as water sensor, alarms, FM transmitter etc., have not been
reported in any one stick.

Pride of the family

"Till now nobody in our family has done anything innovative. But they
may now get inspired from us and do something in the near future!"
declare Sanket
and Prashant. These young innovators have always had a tendency to try
and understand everything. This tendency and flair for improvisation
coupled with
a curious nature played a vital role in making their innovation a
success. Their family's pride in them is revealed in one sentence,
"These two have a
genius dancing between their ears". They go on to explain, "What made
us support them in this course was their attitude towards this
project. It was not
merely mechanical but it was for a cause- to help the blind. Of course
we were a bit worried about their studies. In this competitive world
we just lay
stress on our children's academics. Yet, innovative thinking is
necessary and there lies the real creativity of every person." Sanket
and Prashant have
also made a project titled 'Automatic dipper'- the main use of which
is to automatically dip the headlights of the vehicle at nights on
highways. Many
accidents are caused, because of bright light. So this innovation
helps in avoiding such accidents. Currently Sanket and Prashant aren't
working on any
other idea. These students are grateful for the considerable
encouragement they received from their family, friends and teachers.
They have exhibited this
innovation in the Intel Science Talent Discovery Fair- 2002 and won a
prize. After this it was covered in a number of newspapers. They also
recall with
happiness, the fact that the community had rained applause and
appreciation on them in the wake of their innovation. On asking about
their dreams for the
future, Prashant explains he would like to become an engineer in the
stream of either electronics or automobiles. But Sanket is categorical
in stating
that he doesn't want to reveal his future plans to anybody, as yet.

 The electronic blind stick uses a PCB with a host of components
including Integrated Circuits (IC 555, IR Sensor), semiconductors
(Transistor-BC557, IR
LED), passive components such as resistors, preset, capacitors and
diodes along with headphones, IC base and the base 1" PVC pipe which
functions as the
stick and a separate handle. This device makes use of a total of five
sensing circuits. Three of them use IR reflective sensing techniques
to sense the
presence of obstacles. Each sensor (IR) is individually AMV gated,
stimulated by a switching circuit with assigned frequency. The
principle of working
consists of generating 32 KHz wave using the IC1 (555), which is fed
as input to the IR LEDs emitting IR rays. These rays are reflected
back from the obstacle
and the IR sensors absorb these rays and activate the gated
oscillator, which respectively turns the speaker on. An obstacle on
the right side turns on
the right side speaker; if it is on the left side, the left oscillator
triggers the speaker on that same side. In case the object is in
front, the forward
sensor sends the signal to both the oscillators, so both speakers are
turned on. The present system thus uses time decision multiplexing
technique to transmit
all the gated AMV frequencies sequentially. There are also
moisture-sensing electrodes and micro-switches. gated assigned
frequencies are multiplexed and
transmitted with the help of a FM transmitter. The use of FM
transmitter and receiver makes a wireless system possible.

mail: l.pavan.get at gmail.com

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