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Smart Sensor Stick For Blind Information Technology Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Information Technology
Wordcount: 2940 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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The issue that needed most attention when dealing with problems faced by 90 of blind people in society is lack of sense of direction . Considering this sensitive issue, I have decided to present this report to the company on need-base analysis for “Smart Sensor Stick for Blind”, based on company’s predefined criteria. This design after improvements and modifications would also be able to guide a person to park his car safely. In addition we would test our design against sustainability criteria and core stratifies for set of advantages and disadvantages associated.

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This project aims to equip a blind person with an audible signal, signaling for an obstacle at a distance. This would give a blind person confidence taking right decisions. A sensor is mounted on the lower end of the stick which could sense an obstacle from a distance. Another sensor could hear the incoming sounds like of a ghastly approaching car and send to microcontroller. Microcontroller send signal to the speaker from where the blind person would hear and small chip on the blind’s stick would decide to send an alarm to the person. The same should also be helpful for parking a car with accident based on the critical distance alarm.

Design parameters

Following are some design considerations in terms of design parameters and assumptions made for use and environment where would be working.


Critical distance: 1 meter for both blind person movement and car parking

Alert alarm: the microcontroller should decide and send warning to the blind person before he comes close to one meter of the obstacle. The same is applicable for the car parking guidance.

Time period: the warning or alert system should take 1mili second or less for whole operation

Cost: the system is very simple and should be very cheap.

Modified parameters

Design: the design is simple so that a layman is able to handle and operate it very easily.

Additional parameters

Energy-efficiency: it should meet guidelines of Green IT since it consumes low energy for longer life span. It only consists of low energy consuming sensor Mica2, it is shown in the Figure below and please refer to detail datasheet from the manufacturer Crossbow in the Appendix III (C r o s s b ow Te c h n o l o g y, 2008).

Figure : MIca2 mote (C r o s s b ow Te c h n o l o g y, 2008)

Safety: since it would be used by special people so it should be harmless in design. For example, should not produce electric shock or sharp edges.

Reliability: we had added an extra sensor in the earlier design in order to make it more reliable, in case one fails other take charge. But one is made active other passive in line with energy efficiency design parameter as discussed above.


Following are underlining assumptions are used in order to better test and use the product in real scenarios.

1 meter is enough distance for a person moving at an average speed to take his decision to safety.

The person is not duff so that product is best used, so it works well for people with blindness problem only.

The warning distance for parking a car is 2 meter which is sufficient for car being parked at a normal speed.

As the improved design would be solar energy supported we suppose that there is abundant supply of sunlight.

Description of the Final Design

This project aims to provide audible signals to the blind person to direct them to make decisions based on reliable information, so that they are directed to the safe path by avoiding the collisions after equipping them with the above mentioned system.

Design description

In order to design the above product as shown in the block diagram in Figure 1, we mounted two sensors on the stick (i.e. while stick used by the blind), one on lower end and other on the middle. The similar diagram in provided in the appendix I, as used in another work (Technologies, 2010). This is done primarily to achieve the reliability in case of one of the sensors get fail. This sensor is able to sense the obstacle from 10 meters and sends the signal to microcontroller. After receiving the signal the microcontroller plays an alarm or alert so that person holding the stick comes to know that there is hurdle in front of him and he should change the course until he is able to fine a free way (Rajendra Prasad Mahapatra, 2009). Similarly, this system can be mounted on a car with one sensor in front and other back of the car.

Block diagram

Following a simple block diagram for our modified design is given below:

Obstacle Sensor 1

Obstacle Sensor 2

Distance Meter




Power Source

Figure : Block diagram

Pseudo code

Here we have shown a simple pseudo code for functioning of above design.

While (signal) //search for signal


if (mode==1) { blind-mode)} // see for operation mode

Else (parking-mode)

Send (signal) // send alarm to controller to send alarm to speaker

Microcontroller (signal){ Alert-alarm}


} do;

Figure : Pseudocode for system design

Design evaluation

In this section, we will give critical evolution of the current product and give recommendations based on the suggested modifications and improvements.


As per detailed analysis and considerations we have find out the current design need improvements. These improvements have been are in the form of previous design modifications and some additional features. These changes will make the final product more reliable, environment friendly, and safe to handle and operate.


An extra sensor is needed to be added in order to add reliability. Since, failure of device could endanger the person holding it. It wound compromise the energy efficiency, as we suggest making one of sensor in active mode and other in passive. It would take charge of signaling an obstacle as soon then first one fails.

The overall modified design would meet the Green IT standards to safe energy and run so be cost effective. It has been noticed that an electronic device during its life time consume more energy-bill than it was used to buy it. It will be operated on two Mica2 (Please refer to the appendix III for datasheet) motes running on single battery and one active at time.

The device should be able to handle two modes of operation; namely, blind-mode and parking-mode. It should switch between two modes with just single click of button. The transfer from one mode to another mode is made as transparent as possible.

Another important modification in current design is safety procedures so make sure that device safe to be operated by a special person. The device is steel made for durability but with plastic cover to avoid injury. Moreover, since it operates though on small power supply should be eclectic shock proof since it has plastic and rubber cover.



The sustainability in simple words is the, “ability of the product to be sustained indefinitely” (Design, 2004).

Sustainable design

The sustainable design can be defined as, “The design of system that can be sustained indefinitely”.


Sustainable product designed therefore be defined as, “the design of the objects and sustainability of the systems in which they operate” (Design, 2004).

Now, we discuss Sustainability when considered against the primary factors, environmental or eco, financial, and social:

Primary sustainability factors

Following are three primary factor of sustainable product design:

Environmental Sustainability

Since bingeing, human have been destroying nature in order to conquer it. However, to achieve sustainability it is essential to accept the fact that human is dependent on the nature for their wellbeing and safety. Without a healthy natural environment, it is impossible to have healthy society and economy.

The mistreatment of environment has resulted in a number of consequences that are posing immediate threat to society and economy.

According to Edwin Datschefski all materials exist in closed loop systems (cycles), all energy comes from renewable sources (solar), no harmful substances are emitted (safe), and throughout the product’s life cycle it is no more than 10% of the resources used by an equivalent product in 1990 (efficient).

The cyclic and solar system illustrated is illustrated in the Figure 3, as shown on the next page of this report.

Environmental Sustainability

Figure : the cyclic and solar system illustrated (Design, 2004)

Financial Sustainability

It is essential for two reasons, one that a businessman would pursue it if it is financially viable and second financial wealth is important for quality of life. However, on contrary they not need to be conflicting (Design, 2004).

Carefully designing products within their business, social and environmental systems can result in a solution that have long term financial viability and consistently generate financial profits and wealth. A financially sustainable system has the following characteristics:

Consistent revenue by meeting customer customized products

Not rely on finite resources

Increase profit margin by lowering cost

Protect financial wellbeing of customers

Not have any significant financial liabilities

The following diagram in Figure 4, illustrate the different between a traditional business and a sustainable business.

Figure : Business vs sustainable business

Social Sustainability

Sustainability is about creating and maintaining quality of life for the people, though environmental and social factors are important but they are sources to that end.

Social sustainability involves protecting the mental and physical health of all stakeholders, encouraging community, treating all stakeholders fairly, and providing essential services. It is also important that essential services are effectively delivered to everyone who needs them.

10 relevant design strategies

You are required to select 10 strategies from this list and outline why you believe each one you choose is relevant to your own final product design.

Design business system first

In order to make our product sustainable we have to try it in the integration with it business environment where it is to be deployed or used. In order to achieve this we have made certain assumptions about the testing environment.

Clarity core function

Consumers some time may not buy product for just sustainability function they need the manufacturer to focus on main functionality, some time they could ignore other benefits for the said. We have made sure that our product is good in itself not be sold with providing ice on the cake.

Product service systems

Typical aim of manufacturing is provide a high value product with low cost, by this often poor value to the customer. PSS is not new idea; it can offer substantial benefits to all the parties involved. This involves offering a service while lending them a product, not losing the ownership and has incentive to maximize product life cycle.


In designing the product it would reduce product cost. In our system design we have provided with two functions in one product, i.e. blind-mode and parking-mode.


We have taken care of this strategy as our product is designed in a way that it has two modules for two modes of functions and they can easily be fitted together to use either of the functions.

Minimize material variety

We have not taken care of this strategy since in our product design the two materials are used in manufacturing the product which offer other related benefits. For example, steal is used to made white stick durable and covered it with plastic to make it safe to be used by blind persons to avoid unwanted injuries.

Low embodies energy materials

All materials have energy consumption cost associated with them during manufacturing. We would use pre-manufactured material in our production of the final product to avoid this.

Avoid glass

Glass is often thought are environmentally friendly as it could be recycled, non-toxic, and manufactured from natural resources that are abundant. But due to its hardness it is difficult to recycle and inefficient to transport.

Renewable energy

In our final product design, we have suggested to use small solar panel with the blind stick or car in order to fulfill the green energy criteria. So the product would be self powered so that it make use of other attached benefits such as cost reduction and ease of use.


Since our product is supposed to be used by we have made sure that product is simple enough to handles and maintained by hat person. The design is very simple and a novice can assemble it easily.

Contribution to the primary factors

In this section we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages associated with above ten strategies in terms of three core strategies such as; economical, financial and social sustainability.

Design business system first

This strategy would help us deal with the deal with the social sustainability and eco and financial strategy indirectly since it would involve customer to design the product.

Clarity core function

The products with sustainable strategy are to replace the non sustainable product and manufacturer have the financial benefit but at the cost of paying environmental penalty. It has made sure the social sustainable strategy since it taken care of customers need is met.

Product service systems

Our product does not involve this service sine it involve increase use of energy and thus compromising other code design issues. Paybacks are slower and customers are tied to the conditions.


It is eco friendly, since it would reduce the resources use and financially viable since it would increase our product demand. The customer has benefit of increased convenience and value for money. On the other hand drawback is the consumer may buy fewer products.


Our product is eco friendly since it would reduce disposal of the product and by increasing the appeal for our customers they would repeat the business which gives us financial viability. It is social friendly since product has better taken care of customers needs over the life of the product as extended product life would offer good value for the money.

It has draw also since increased product life cycle may reduce sales turn over.

Minimize material variety

It encourages recycling and increases the economy of sale with simplified logistics and reduced end life treatment cost. This could also result in using of inappropriate material leading to inefficiency and earlier disposal.

Low embodies energy materials

It would be eco friendly since it would reduce energy usage and financially beneficial since materials with low energy usage can be cheaper.

Avoid glass

It has reduces risk of injury to the waste disposal workers so is socially sustainable. Has financial benefit since it has reduced transport cost. And eco friendly as it avoid damage to the recycling facilities. The one environmental drawback is that its substitutes are even less desirable.

Renewable energy

It is eco friendly as it would discourage fossil fuel energy usage. It would give financial benefits as improved functionality would increase its demand. It is socially sustainable since product is mobile and never run out of battery.

The disadvantages are increased unit’s cost but are cheap in the long term usage. And product can be more bulky.


The product would run longer and reduces waste and cost. Financial appeal is that it would reduce; development, manufacturing, and assembly costs. Socially sustainable since it is easy to be used by the bind person and made easier to meet our customers demand.

The cons are that simplification may reduce functionality and efficiency. Financially simple products may be perceived as less valued. And social drawback is that simple products may be less capable of handling individual need. In our final design we have tried to lower the impact of related disadvantages of this strategy in order to increase the advantages.


We have studied the current designed according to the company’s set criteria and suggested our modification and additions to make product more efficient and reliable. We have given our recommendations for new design and evaluated it against some sustainability strategies for its advantages and disadvantages and why the certain important design considerations were made. We have further evaluated the above ten strategies against financial, economical, and social core sustainable strategies to make use of related benefits it brings to us.


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