Real Time Electronic Navigation Aid & Tracking System for Visual Impaired Persons

Yekini NA, Olukumoro SO Olukumoro SO, Okikiola FM and Ishola PE

Published on: 2022-06-06


Sightless or visual impaired person face with several difficult in life, one of the problem is limitation in mobility or basically navigation around places due to inability to detect the obstacles in front of them which can result to accident and possible loss of movement pathway. This work is focus on design of electronic navigation aid and tracking system to assist sightless person to overcome problems associated with limitation in mobility and to easily tracking their location by their family or friend when lost due movement pathway mismatched.  We designed and implement a solution by coming out with real-time walk stick with embedded tracking system.  The proposed system was implemented using multiple sensors to detect obstacles and avoidance of puddles, a buzzer that alert the sightless person when obstacle is detected, Arduino micro-controller PIC16F690 was used to receive inputs from the multiple sensors and other electronic device and other actuators, SIM modules. A metal ready-made walking stick was used as the stick where all the electronic devices and power supply were fixed and emergency was then hard coded into SIM for alerting family of sightless person when lost track or in danger via registered SIM card embedded in the system. Arduino C program was used to implement the code. The output was tested and confirmed to have achieved the purpose of the research work.


Arduino C program; Arduino micro controller PIC16F690; Embedded tracking system; Real time walk stick; Visual impaired person


The visual impaired persons are prone to several difficulties majorly among the difficulties   faced by visually impaired person which is tribute to navigation navigate around places.  Research has shown that the visually impaired have slower walking speeds, more falls, and report more mobility difficulty compared to nonvisual impaired person. Worldwide, about 2.2 billion persons have a near or distance vision impairment (WHO, 2021). The rate at which vision impairment is growing is alarming which is predominantly among low income and developing countries in Africa and Asia. As at October 11, 2017 an estimated of 253 million people are visually impaired out of which 36 million were totally blind and 217 million are moderately impaired (WHO, 2017). Visual impairments may be total or partial vision loss and people involved are prone to several difficulties in their normal life challenges and most predominant one is navigation around places [1,2]. In this era of modern ICT proliferation and electronic business a SMART and cost effective electronic devices can be deploy to assist visually impaired people to reach their potential [3]. The focus of this work is to design and implement a device to tackle problems associated with limitation in mobility or basically navigation around places among visually impaired persons. The proposed system will come inform of an intelligent walk stick which will be electronic based with embedded tracking system to track visual impaired person in case of danger.  

Literature Survey

Visual impairment or sightless is a term used to describe complete blindness or partial vision lost. Majority of the impairments comes after birth due to conditions like Amblyopia; Cataracts; Diabetic; retinopathy; Glaucoma; Macular Trachoma and old age (, 2019). Visual impaired person are exposed to difficulties in life and research has shown that visual impairment aids can solve or alleviate problems associated with visual impairment. Some of the aids included but not limited to the following use of service dogs, canes, electronic mobility aid, walk sticks, reading aids (, 2020).

Their different approaches by researchers towards alleviation of problems encounter by visual impaired people in their research work entitled substitute eyes for the blind presented an embedded systems that helps sightless people to detect obstacles and helps navigation processes using TI MSP430G2553 and HC-SR04 ultrasonic sensors, vibration motors [4]. The output of their research provided the required solution but has it limitation which makes it not comfortable for long-term use. In their work entitled Indoors and Outdoors Prototype Walking Stick presented a prototype of walking sticks that uses sonar sensor to detect obstacles towards allowing sightless people to move independently both indoors and outdoors [5]. Similar research was carried out In 2013 with embedded GPS-GSM modules to find the location of the visual impaired and also to share their location information if need be [6]. In another development proposed a smart system that uses an ATmega328 microcontroller embedded with an Arduino Uno with various types of sensors to alleviate problems associated with mobility of visually impaired persons. A GPS talking navigation device was that serves as   localization-based device to assist in locating sightless persons, the system make use GPS receiver, programmable interface controller (PIC) microcontroller, voice recorder, liquid crystal display (LCD), microphone, and headset [7]. Voice messaging navigation device was proposed by [8-10] the system that make use of an 89c51 microcontroller, Bluetooth, an analog-to-digital converter (ADC), an IR sensor, an RFID sensor with RFID tags, and android APP was designed to give voice messages for obstacle detection and navigation.

Methodology and Materials

There are several attempts by researchers to assist visual impaired person towards meeting up or mitigation life challenges. This research work is focus on design of real-time electronic navigation aid & tracking system for visual impaired persons to improve on limitation of the existing system [11-15].  The required hardware components/materials to be used for the design are Arduino Uno Micro-controller, GSM Module (SIM800), Buzzer, Power Module, Stripped Vero board, female and male pin header, water sensor, battery converter, 3D printed case, power switch, LEDs, connectors, and Lithium polymer rechargeable battery [16-21]. The mentioned hardware was carefully chosen towards achieving the aim and objectives of the research work.

The block diagram of the proposed system is shown in (Figure 1), while (Figure 2) gives the basic data flow and architecture of the proposed system. The Arduino Uno Micro-controller is central to all other devices and material.

Figure 1: Block diagram of the proposed system.

Figure 2: Proposed System architecture.

The operation of the proposed system is as shown in the flowchart (Figure 3). The system will then be coded with appropriate software.  

Figure 3: Operational flowchart of the proposed system.

Implementation and Testing

The hardware construction and programing was done accordingly as follows, and test was carried out at each stage of the implementation process.

Stage 1: The circuit construction was done by assembling of the components using a stripped vero-baord, the component was firstly aligned on the bread-board and the soldered to the circuit board see (Figure 4).

Figure 4: Circuit on circuit board.

Stage 2: Fusion 360 CAD was used to design the device’s casing the model/dummy of the proposed system was exported and sliced using CURA which is slicing software that prepares and generate Gcode from 3D model that can be sent to a 3D printer. The print out from the 3D printer is as shown in (Figure 5).

Figure 5: Full Design on Fusion 360.

Stage 3: The circuit and other components were technically and carefully assembled inside the case. The process of assembling is as shown in (Figure 5).

Figure 6: Assembling the device.

Stage 4: After the system has been assembled, the Arduino codes are written into it to put life into the hardware towards performing the required function. The program was written with Arduino C program.

Stage 5: The final output shown in Figure 7 was then tested to confirm the aim and objectives of the research work was achieved.

Figure 7: Final Output.


 This research work has successful design and implements a real-time electronic navigation aid & tracking system for visual impaired persons. The system will be useful as mobile navigation aid and tracking system. It perfectly detect obstacles and water puddle on navigation pathways and also track the location of visual impaired persons in case of accident. The system is easy to maintain, cheap, durable than conventional walking sticks. Engineering design and innovation has limitations which can be work upon to meet up with future needs and technological changes. In the future work the performance of stick can be improved by adding extra health monitoring features. The principles o k f mono pulse radar can be utilized for determining long range target objects. The other scope may include a new concept of prime and safe path detection based on neural networks for a blind person.


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