Angel Box is a simple device for helping blind people in the detection of obstacles.
Angelbox is aimed to be an integration to the traditionak stick used from blind people, for helping them move in an open space, where obstacles are at a distance which is not reacheable by the stick itself, or anyway to be worn pointing to the front, depending on the preferences of the user.
The device was designed in order to avoid relying on the normally used senses. It is an clear intent to avoid disturbing the normal capacities used by blind people in their daily orienting:
- no additional noises which might confuse;
- no need to body, hands or stick additional movements.
In such way obstacles can be detected at a distance up to 15 meters, without impacting on the traditional habits of a person.
The device first concept came when reading the article from New Scientist about Daniel Kish, a blind man who developed incredible echolocation skills (the same concept of bats and dolphins ultrasounds) (http://www.newscientist.com/
A first prototype was developed which is actually being largely tested on a daily basis by a blind girl.
A second and smaller prototype is being developed, which testing phase is foreseen by the end of the year, which will have the same capabilities and a better design.
Ultrasonic distance sensor
Not many similar devices are available on the market, which by the way do affect the normal habits of blind people and are therefore difficult to be adopted, as some other capability should be somehow limited or sacrificed. (http://www.sonarcane.com/
A lot of concepts are also available, but none of them appears to have been realized and tested and appear to have not been developed to further stages.
The actual prototype is based on a high quality ultrasonic range finder and an arduino prototyping board, the final device is foreseen to be much cheaper, as the range finder will be coupled to a microprocessor only, which will also allow the use of less space.
First tests on an early ptototype