10 Nov 2015

Fiji's USP designs new device for the blind

12:37 pm on 10 November 2015
USP engineer Utkal Mehta with his mobility device.

USP engineer Utkal Mehta with his mobility device. Photo: Supplied

Engineers at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji have developed what they say is a hand-held mobility device for blind people that can easily identify all kinds of obstacles in their way.

A senior lecturer and lead designer, Dr Utkal Mehta, says he was inspired to create the device after seeing visually impaired students around campus struggling to use a cane.

He says the "Eye Cane" is the size of a remote control and uses ultrasonic waves to detect obstacles, and communicates them either through vibrations or audio prompts through a hearing aid.

"It has two ultrasonic sensors at a particular angle and we obtain the reflections from the obstacles and base it on the obstacles' reflections and the time we received the reflections."

Dr Utkal Mehta says feedback from people who have used the device has been incredibly positive.

He hopes to conduct further testing and trials before seeking a patent.