BAPPY

Bappy is an assistive mobility device for the visually impaired to help them navigate the outdoors with a better sense of their surroundings. The device works with ultrasonic sensors giving the user haptic feedback through vibrating motors. Initially the idea was to have a distance detector only, however the intensive users’ testing experiences helped nuancing the device so that it would more tailored for the needs of the targeted population. The device is now equipped to give feedback about the size, direction and the location of obstructing objects; instead of the initial sole distance detection. 
 
This project was done under the supervision of Anezka Sebek
Also, one important feature of this device is its appearance. The device was designed to look as if it is a part of the user’s outfit rather that an assistive device. All electronics are hidden so that the user can confidently wear it.  
   
Special thanks to: 
Helen Keller. Services for the blind.

Montefiore Medical Center

Visions. Services for the blind and visually impaired. 
 
Prototyping

Problem

Solution

First round of user testing
This is a video of the first prototype. At that point, it was thought that a belt around the waist may be the best design since it gives a 360° angle detection. However, and after the first round of user testing at Visions, an organization that provides services for the blind and visually impaired, the response was "we will never let go of the cane because it gives us the level of the ground and if there is a hole or a bump”. Such a response meant that changing the location of the sensors was a must, since the cane will always be obstructing the sensors’ ability to scan the front space. 
   
   
Second round of user testing
After modifying the belt into being a harness, the second round of user testing was at Montefiore Medical Center. The person testing it was a physician in the rehabilitation department who was visually impaired. As soon as he wore the device he stormed out of the room without even calibrating, which was extremely surprising. He then stood in front of a pillar and started panning left and right and he was the one who said “this is actually giving accurate sizes of the objects as well”, which is something discoverable through user testing.
   
Next steps
The most important future step will be to install a Kinect sensor instead of the ultrasonic sensors, allowing to break the image into a grid. Each compartment of the grid will be attached to a different motor, which will increase the accuracy drastically.
      
For more information please click here here