Navigating the Senses
The cloudandco Smart Cane is an assistive device for the blind, designed to bring confidence and safety to those who need to rely on their other senses to get around. Through the use of braille, vibration, and audio feedback, the device would direct the user to their destination so they can relax and explore more than ever before. As they navigate a braille readout gives them directions while mobile app integration gives them audio feedback allowing for better and safer travel.
Analog & Digital
The device had to retain the current functionality of white canes but seamlessly go between old technology and new. This was done by collapsing a four-foot fiberglass pole to achieve a slim form factor but retain the needed function of a cane. A ball and pin assembly were added to the end of the pole to alleviate the strain of day to day use by allowing the user to roll the end rather than scrape it while still feeling texture and objects.
It was important for the use of the device to be as simple as possible using minimal buttons while retaining the maximum functionality. The buttons are designed to be very tactile and easy to toggle or press and offer high color contrast for visibility. There are two buttons that allow the user to switch between present locations i.e. work, coffee shop and home. There is a toggle switch on the back that allows the user to easily turn the device on and off. Finally, the device charges using inductive charging, allowing for the user to skip handling chords and ports and simply set the device on their night table with the confidence they will be ready for the next day.
The device has mobile app integration that allows the user to change or update preset locations as well as receive directional information through audio. The interface was designed to have two operating modes, the primary user through audio navigation and the secondary user through text and button navigation.
This allows the user to have a caretaker or family/friend access their account in order to update their locations or just to check in on them, giving the user remote companionship and confidence to explore.