Discover, Connect & Collaborate at TECHINNOVATION 2021

Smart Navigation Cane for the Visually Impaired (VI) Users

Technology Overview

This project developed a route recorder and navigation system to help the visually impaired travel independently in the outdoor and indoor environments. The system improves upon the traditional landmark navigation method by providing direction guidance and accurate position data to guide the visually impaired. In the route recording phase, a mobility instructor will accompany the visually impaired person to record the route information needed for the visually impaired person to travel independently to reach a destination. During recording phase, the system will remember landmarks and the distance/direction travelled will be recorded using MEMS sensors and an omnidirectional wheel attached to the white cane. After the route is recorded, the navigation guidance system is capable of providing verbal guidance to the user to navigate to the destination using the location data from the smart cane. The system will be very useful to the visually impaired community as it is able to provide accurate outdoor navigation as well as indoor navigation for all buildings in Singapore without the need to draw building floorplans and additional infrastructure investment for indoor navigation.

Technology Features, Specifications and Advantages

The successful implementation of this project revolves around several innovations.

  1. System combines man’s superior ability in landmark object recognition with machine’s ability to store massive data and accurate location detection to produce an effective navigation system.
  2. System can produce accurate position data as position error is not accumulated in the system but is reset to zero at each landmark location.
  3. Use of omnidirectional wheel to measure accurate distance for the navigation system
  4. System does not require building floorplans or hardware infrastructure investment for indoor navigation

Potential Applications

  • Indoor and outdoor navigation for the visually impaired
  • Navigation guide for visually impaired visitors to museums
  • System is also applicable for the elderly market
  • The technology is not limited to Singapore and can be used in any other country. The market size is the number of visually impaired in the world

Customer Benefit

  • Navigation device for the visually impaired. Our system has a positional accuracy of less than 1m and current commercially available systems are not able to achieve this accuracy
  • The smart system (e-guide dog) is much cheaper than current available commercial systems (estimated to be S$500 per cane)
  • Improves the social lives of the visually impaired
Contact Person

Diana Sutanto


Nanyang Polytechnic

Technology Category

  • Personal Care
  • Wellness & Spa

Technology Readiness Level


Visual Impaired, Navigation, walking cane