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Smart Cane for the

Blind & Visually Impaired

When one sense is down, we are counting our other senses to compensate, and sometimes, it is still not enough.

By using existing technology, there are more opportunities to improve the navigation experience for blind and visually impaired (BVI) individuals. In this project, I focused on finding a solution that will provide BVI individuals with more independence, safer ways to navigate, and overall improve their quality of life.

How would you like to continue?
Project Methodology

Project duration: 2 Weeks


Current Solutions

Analysis of existing solutions and their characteristics, including purpose, functions, etc.


Interview End Users

Interview of BVI individuals with various types of visual impairments.


Technology Capabilities

Mapping tech abilities in other areas of computer vision, AI, area mapping, etc.


Design & UX Considerations

Improving UX while addressing pain points and providing solutions during the design process

Current Solutions in Market

Benchmark Insights 
Given by BVI individuals 

Current solutions in the market such as traditional cane, service dog, smart glasses, IR cane & even IR bracelet offer different types of experiences. 
However, these are not enough for BVI individuals, something is still missing. 

The 2 most common solutions being used by BVI individuals today are traditional cane and service dog, sometimes combined, sometimes one over the other (on a case-to-case basis).  Although these are the most common solutions by BVI individuals, a traditional cane or service dog provides limited sensory information, such as tactile feedback or audio cues, which may not be sufficient for the user to fully understand their surroundings. In a dynamic environment, receiving real-time information is crucial to navigate safely through potential hazards and obstacles.

The current smart solutions offered in the market are not sufficient enough for users. I
R canes are not completely reliable and cannot identify the type of obstacles or communicate to the user where they are located. In addition ,Smart accessories such as smart glasses or IR bracelet cannot stand alone and need to be paired with a traditional cane or a service dog as they are not completely accurate and users don't count on them fully.

Users usually use a navigation app accompanied by their cane or service dog to navigate more accurately to their destination, especially if they are in a new territory. This usually requires them to use the only other hand they have free, which some users stated as a pain point.

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With Blind & Visually Impaired Participants

I conducted 3 in-depth interviews with 3 people from the BVI community in Israel to hear their stories, and learn more about their daily routines, independence & abilities, assistive technologies, and pain points. The data collected from these interviews was summarised below into the main pain points that eventually led to the final result. 

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Key Findings


With both cane and service dog there is no detection of upper-body level obstacles.


Takes extra time and focus to navigate unfamiliar areas.


A service dog is preferred over a cane mostly due to their ability to walk much faster and avoid obstacles. But owning a service dog is very expensive and they get distracted easily. 


Using a cane or a service dog, requires one hand, which leaves only one hand free


All the participants are using a smartphone.


All the participants were using a cane before having a service dog. 


Braille is not commonly used by most participants and the BVI community. 


Smart assisting devices should not distract or confuse the user (e.g., constant beeping or vibrant).

Opportunities for improvements


Obstacles Detection

Provide the ability to get a more detailed understanding of upcoming obstacles. 


One Hand

Control both cane and app with a single hand.


Haptic Feedback

Improve haptic feedback for better spatial perception.



Redesign the traditional white cane characteristics into more innovative form in order to change the society perception of BVI.


Common Characteristics

of Vision Impairments

Including: ​


• Loss of fine details (blurred images).

• Lack of contrast.

• Light sensitivity.

• Need of light (perceiving a lower level of brightness) ​

• Central vision loss (loss at the center of the visual field).

• Peripheral vision loss (loss at the periphery of the visual field).

Most Common
Technologies for Vision Impairment

Based on the user interviews and search for other sources online, below are the most common assistive technologies that are being used by BVI users starting from screen readers, voice commands, and even live online volunteer assistants. 

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CMF & Morphology

Looking for inspiration from different disciplines to explore morphologies that express confidence, independence, ability, and smart technology. The users may not be able to see the product, but the right morphology and CMF can improve social perception.

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Rapid Prototyping

Building quick and low-fidelity mockups to test ergonomy, posture, the angle from the ground while walking, weight, and camera angle and location.

Ideation & Sketches

Building quick and low-fidelity mockups to test ergonomy, posture, the angle from the ground while walking, weight, and camera angle and location.


Based on the findings of the interviews, choosing lightweight and durable materials to improve the life cycle of the smart cane are a crucial factor for this product. The main body and the button of the cane are made from polycarbonate, and the grip is made from silicone to long last and handle better sweat. There is a strap made from woven material for an easy way to carry and secure it while using it. 

Improving Navigation Experience

N7 is a smart cane that uses spatial detection technology to provide additional information and enhance the navigation experience while preserving the functions of a traditional caneWhile AI identifies obstacles, haptic and sound feedback will provide the needed information to bypass them without distracting the user.

Smart Camera

Based on existing technology AI based to detect obstacles. 

Details Matter

When one sense is inactive, other senses are enhanced. By using different textures & patterns to identify form factors and actions, the product usability is becoming more familiar, friendly and easy to control,  



Haptic Feedback

In the handle, there are 4 ways haptic feedback to allow a better understanding of where the obstacle is relative to the user.

Custom vibration patterns to identify different obstacles:




Moving Object


The cane is compact and portable due to a cam lock mechanism, which allows it to be folded and to adjust different height levels by twisting the pipes.

Empowered User Experience

A better user-centered design allows for enhancing the user experience, and the social perception towards BVI.

Grip & Ergonomy

The form factor of the handle helps to achieve more accurate camera view while keeping the hand in a loose & neutral posture. Constant contact with the ground by using a caster ball tip to roll the cane while walking.

Compatible App

• Voice assistance

• Detailed instructions

• Favorite locations

• Easy navigate in stores

• Font size & theme settings

• Haptic feedback & voice assistance settings

• Connect to smart home


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