in house alarm system
An engineering professor and five students at Central Michigan Universityhave created a ''Smart Cane'' to read electronic navigational tagsinstalledbetween buildings to aid the blind in reaching their destinations moreeasily. ''This project started as a way for me to teach students to see andunderstand the ways that engineering can be used for the greater good,''said Kumar Yelamarthi, the professor and project leader. ''We wanted to dosomething that would help people and make our campus more accessible. '' During the spring term, Yelamarthi and five senior engineering studentstested the cane, which is equipped with Radio Frequency Identificationtechnology, similar to what retailers put on products to keep them frombeing stolen. The Smart Cane contains
an ultrasonic sensor that is paired with aminiaturenavigational system inside a messenger style bag worn across the shoulder. For the test, the students installed identification tags between twobuildings on the campus in Mount Pleasant, Mich. A speaker located on thebag strap gave audio alerts when the system detected
an obstacle and toldthe user which direction to move. Students wearing glasses that simulate visual impairment tested the cane. The students also created a vibrating glove to assist those who are bothvisually and hearing impaired. Yelamarthi said it's one of the first outdoor applications of RFID and saidhe plans for students in upcoming classes to further refine the systemwhilehe seeks grants to speed the research. The next step probably involves using the system in a wider area.