Vibrating glove uses ultrasonic echolocation to help the blind

1 min read

Two manufacturing engineering and management students from Nottingham University have developed a glove that uses vibration signals to alert blind people to the proximity of objects.

The SenSei Glove, developed by students Raivat Luthura and Serkan Oztas consists of a glove with a velcro attachment, onto which an ultrasonic sensor is fitted. The sensor system measures the distance of the visually impaired wearer from an object and gives feedback to them in the form of vibrations of differing intensities, depending on the wearer’s proximity to the object in question.

The device recently won first prize in the inaugural Entrepreneurship and Business Competition run by Nottingham University Business School (NUBS) at Nottingham University, and an Engineers in Business Fellowship (EIBF), winning team SenSei £1,000 and life-time mentoring from EIBF Fellows.

Luthura and Oztas are now in the running for the university’s yearly undergraduate Ingenuity Prize, where they hope to secure a share of the £26,000 prize fund.

‘At present, the attachment is quite large, but we are working on a new system containing a microprocessor that is smaller and not as heavy,’ said Luthura. ‘This will also make it more aesthetically pleasing. We’re going to use the money from the competition for further development of the device.’

Since winning their award, the students have been approached by a manufacturer of assistive technologies that is interested in helping the team take the device to production, as well as taking part in trials of the device.

The team is now working towards developing and refining a prototype that can be presented to charities and the NHS, with an eventual view to mass production.