It’s always exciting to see DIY projects to help the blind, but this latest entry on Hackaday for their Assistive Technology prize is just plain cool. This is SonicScape by Pawit Kochakarn, combining ultrasonic sensors with audible beeps using Arduino Unos and MP3 shields with headphones. There’s double the tech charm with these shades, which Hackaday points out.
Of note in this project is the Bluetooth connectivity to eliminate wires and independent left and right audio channels. That last bit—being able to hear in left and right—is something we haven’t seen before in devices like this and aims to greatly increase the usability of such a device.
Hackaday projects often get helpful critiques, and one person suggested that audible tones may be disruptive to someone who relies on hearing for their environment. Another warned of the issues of overlapping signal areas. Pawit is making some adjustments. including the addition of Adafruit Powerboost 500 shields to make recharging his units easy.
Ultimately, the user will wear these glasses and the bone conduction headphones. The circuit board will be in a case in the user’s backpack for portability. The bone conduction will turn on automatically with the press of a button on the Bluetooth module.
You can check out the build over on Hackaday’s site—next steps for the device include trying a Raspberry Pi. Pawit also dreams of GPS based audible navigation as well as tracking capability for the family/loved ones of the user. So far I think this is an interesting project and the 3D printed white glasses add a modern touch. It’s great that Hackaday has created the Assistive Technology theme and I look forward to seeing the other projects. If you are working on your own wearable, follow Pawit’s advice and check out our Powerboost 500 to help make battery charging simple. What are you going to build?
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