University Students develop device to guide the Visually Impaired

Kabale, Uganda

Recently at the 10th exhibition by National Council for Higher Education, a lot was displayed and I guess Uganda is not too far from its 2040 dream. With all these innovations science proves to be more real every now and then and I believe one day we shall download food because if you can imagine it, you can one day hold it in your arms.

Today, the Bee brings you one of the most outstanding innovations that was exhibited over the weekend at UMA show grounds, the Visually Impaired Guide (VIG), a project by three students from Kabale University. The big brains behind this tremendous innovation are, Mr. Bwengye Duncan, Mr. Nkwastibwe Wilber and Mr. Kiiza Daniel all second-year students of electrical engineering at the University.

About the VIG innovation

The device is a head gear in form of a helmet just like those worn by engineers.  It is built in a way that enables blind people to navigate safely around obstacles in any environment at any time of the day even in darkness.

How it works

Bwengye told this reporter that the blind people during movement can hardly tell whether there is an obstacle ahead of them. “You see them pointing sticks to detect anything around. So this machine is made in a way that it has sensors both in front and behind to detect obstacles a meter away. The moment something comes ahead of them, it beeps to enable them know presence of an obstacle so they can change direction,” he explained, adding that there is also a sensor for objects above so they can avoid being hit which many blind people have fallen victim.

How it’s used at night

Currently, the only internationally recognized symbol for the blind is a white cane, however, this cannot be seen at night unless one is cautious and very close. Bwengye says that since the blind do not move only during day, there was need to create something that can favour their movement in the dark hence this innovation. “It has got a lighting system for improved safety especially in the dark. The blind people using our VIG can be spotted out of the rest at night. This is very important for motorists on busy roads as they can easily identify the blind person even in the dark to avoid accidents,” he reveals.

Inspiration

“The trouble underwent by blind students posed a big challenge that we sought to overcome. We onetime visited Hornby Girls High school which had both normal and visually impaired students. The care taker of the blind introduced us to one Gad Leuben in his S.4 who narrated to us his ordeal as a blind student. He told us that he uses a white stick for navigation but usually faces challenges with obstacles above the trunk which poses a big threat to his life. ‘I usually knock my head on obstacles as I try to find my way around school,’ said the young boy. We therefore thought about making a device that can solve this problem and that’s how we came up with VIG,” Bwengye narrated.

The second-year students say that they have sold out the idea to different people in their local area. They also plan to lobby government, national and other international bodies to adopt this in order to improve the status of the blind.

“We hope and pray that society can embrace this and support us so that the blind can live a better a life and be free from stigma,” Bwengye concluded.

Campusbee