Digital Optic Guide: Meeting 1 Product

A robotics team of high-school students, The Ramen Club, is working to design a device called a Digital Optic Guide that helps serve the needs of people who are blind.  We have considered multiple designs, such as: an autonomous robot, a headset, and a clip-on device that attaches to a service dog, as well as considered features such as: two-way communication, the ability to recognize concepts a dog cannot (such as money), and the ability to see in color.*

Timeline and Goals

Our goal is to finish the designing process in June, including a full CAD design (using SolidWorks software), start the build process in July, and to test and revise in August.

Research and Outreach

In order to truly cater to what our target audience wants, however, it is most important that we involve our audience.  Therefore, we are reaching out to multiple organizations who are interested in assisting the blind. On Tuesday, June 12, our team went to the Palo Alto Vista Center for the Blind and Visually impaired.  There, we interviewed Mrs. Serughetti-Waxman, who helped to answer the questions following.  She informed us of existing software and the main goals of those with blind and visual impairments (i.e. gaining independence) and sent us multiple resources to reach out to.  On June 13, we will hold a meeting to discuss final designs, finish materials list, and begin to CAD.

In our emails, we request that organizations send a few anonymous interview questions to blind patients or allow them to schedule an interview with us (over the phone or in person, if there are participants in the California Bay Area).  The feedback we get from these questions will really help us develop a truly beneficial device.

These are the questions we have asked participants to answer:
  1. What are some of the main struggles you run into when working with a guide dog?

  2. What are some advantages that you think technology may be able to provide that a guide dog cannot?

  3. What do you feel is the most important interaction a guide dog should have with its owner?

  4. Do you have any suggestions or ideas for what you would want to see in our digital optic guide?

*Originally, our prompt was to create a robotic service dog that could fulfill functions that a service dog could not.