Using technology to help the blind
Posted Tuesday, March 19 2013 at 02:00
Taking the lead. A group of students at Caltec Academy have taken the lead in developing a gadget that could help the blind.
It’s a hot Saturday afternoon and many of their peers are out playing. However, for Job Israel Migadde, Rogers Murungi and Arnold Katumba, there is no time to rest. It is business as usual. The trio spends much of their class break in isolation, testing, conceptualising and improving on what they have already developed.
Not even resource constrains have stopped them from thinking big and working on a legacy project. Through using knowledge acquired from their physics and chemistry classes; these three Caltec Academy S.6 students have been able to design an automatic water detector and later on a fire detector.
The water detector is designed and later on added on to a walking stick for the blind. With the detector on, the blind can identify water logs and pot holes. This eventually helps them avoid stepping into water while walking.
Even though their innovation; a water detector may seem to be in its early stages, it is functional and able to identify water pools, no matter the amount and were it is. It only needs to get in contact with a drop of water and it will re-act.
According to the team leader, Migadde, a water detector is a device that can be used to help the blind detect water pools while moving.
In an interview Migadde told Prosper that designing a water detector is part of his team’s bigger plans to put their education to proper use as a means of improving the community that they live in.
“We are committed to make superior devices locally because we have the knowledge. For the water detector, we connected a small circuit board that we made locally from plywood. It has cooper wires, three resistors, cells, a bulb, a vibrant and one transmitter,” Migadde says.
“It works in such a way that when the sensor interfaces with water, it communicates to the whole system. Immediately, the device will vibrate. The vibration alerts the blind person that he is about to step in water.”
Katumba, another team member says lack of funds and support continues to be the main obstacle to the project.
“To have this device ready, we need about Shs50,000. However, it is hard to raise this money as we are students and don’t work. We have the technical know-how but lack some necessary equipment.”
Nonetheless he says that no matter the obstacles, we are determined to practically use our knowledge to improve lives.
“After our S.6, we will continue with this. Hopefully by that time, we would have some bigger support to enable us put in place original devices designed, and assembled by us.
Minus the water detector, the team is also developing a fire detector that is also in its early stages.
“ The fire detector works in such a way that when a house or any other property is on fire or heats up, the detector senses this and immediately fire lights and alarms will go on. This alerts people to vacate. We believe this will save people and their properties from fires,” Migadde explains while he sets up the device to demonstrate how it works.