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Intelligent walking stick for the elderly

Priya KuberMay 1st, 2012

A stick has been the traditional constant companion for the old people. Hence, it makes sense to hack some intelligence into it to make their life better. How about a stick that tells you when you have reached the destination? Or which tells you when to avoid an obstacle? Or better, about the various new attractions that are near the place that they are taking a walk through?

A team from Syracuse University senior, lead by Hingham resident Laura Hogan, won first place in the Senior Design Project in Electrical & Computer Engineering for designing a computerized walking stick.

Hogan and her teams’ computerized walking stick was designed to use Radio Frequency Identification tags to alert users when they have reached their destination, and also to inform them of what attractions are nearby. With the use of sensors, GU|tra will also be able to inform the user when there is an obstacle near them. The turn by turn directions along with the alerts for impending collisions will be delivered to the user using a headphone set, which will be connected to a mobile phone. The mobile phone will receive information from the sensors and RFID’s, with the help of an Arduino Microcontroller, and then announce the appropriate commands based on the information it receives. This will be done using a signal transmitted through the USB connection on the Android phone.