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Sight Support

A device that combines a walker and a white cane to provide effective and accessible physical and visual aid.

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Sight Support is an assistive medical device for visually and physically impaired people who are seeking ways to remain active as they age. 

My Role

In addition to collaborating with my teammates over Zoom from Boston - New York, I was responsible for facilitating connections with users, user research, prototyping, and user testing. 

Project Details

Improving life outdoors


UX / UI Design

Mechanical Engineering

Electrical Engineering


Joselyn, Electrical Engineer

Ian, Mechanical Engineer


10 weeks

The Challenge

Visually and physically impaired elderly people struggle navigating alone because, individually, the white cane and walker do not offer both physical and visual aid.

This challenge was inspired by my blind relative, Jay Blake. After machinery accident, Jay has been blind since the age of 30. He provided honest feedback, testing, and insights throughout our 10 weeks. 

Research led the frequency and magnitude of the need to improve the navigation for visually and physically impaired elderly. 


By the age of 65...

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How do you design for people who are blind? 

Empathize, Define, Ideate, Test... REPEAT!

Throughout the 10 weeks, we were challenged to brainstorm, prototype, and test through Zoom calls from Boston to New York.

Of all the design projects I've worked on, I've never experienced designing for someone who cannot see your product

This pushed me to being even more purposeful and empathetic with our users. 

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Our Users: Blind Elderly and Medical Professionals

Our target user is someone who is visually and physically impaired over the age of 65 who is seeking ways to improve their navigation.

Our purchasers are medical distribution companies, hospitals, family of the elderly, and the elderly themselves.

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Empathizing with Visually & Physically Impaired

Step 1: Learning How to Use a White Cane

THIS is why I love design! 


The process always exposes me to new people and experiences that I would never have otherwise. 

One of the most memorable parts of this project was connecting with my blind relative, Jay Blake. 

Jay has been blind since the age of 30, and was one of the primary people that helped us through user testing and empathizing with blind people. 

To mirror the experience as our users to the best of our ability, we blindfolded ourselves when testing.

Jay teaching me how to walk with a White Sight Cane

Qualitative Interviews 

While Sight Support's primary users are in the high-risk category of COVID-19, it posed constraints on our ability to test our prototypes to people over 65. 

This constraint encouraged my group to be overly proactive with our email and communication for experts with assistive medical devices. 

“You see elderly people with canes all the time, the only thing for vision impaired is that they just mark them up with the red and white

- Margrett Gaffney

Massachusetts Commission for the Blind

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"Up to this point I have been marking walkers with red and white tape, but that does not solve the problem of identification for obstacles.”

- Brent Perzentka

Wisconsin Council of the Blind & Visually Impaired

Defining User Needs

3 Specifications

After conducting extensive user research, we concluded that there are three main specifications that should go into our solution for aiding visually and physically impaired elderly. 

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Ideating Solutions

What's out there now?

Not enough! When evaluating the current state of the art, it is either too expensive, or only addresses one of the impairments. 

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When trying to decide what direction to go in, my team and I did a major brainstorm of ALL the possibilities that will improve the navigation of our users. 

We evaluated them on a scale from 1-5 in respect to our design principles and gave them different weight. 

The highlighted options are our top 3 contenders. 

Alternatives Matrix Brainstorm

The winner:
Mechanical system
and vibration sensors 

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Sketching a White Cane and Walker Hybrid

After collaborating with my team, we determined that a hybrid between the walker and white sight cane with manual controls is our most promising design to pursue.
Now that we had direction to integrate both the white cane and mobility device it was type to sketch! 
Notability is one of my favorite iPad apps to use. 



Prototype 1 

My first prototype had the basic arc of the walker solidified. 

The canes height and distance is based off of
1 human stride (26 inches) and a 45º angel that allows the detection of objects at various levels

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Prototype 2 

We needed to think of a way to have the cane rotate in 4 directions: left, right, up, and down

I was inspired by an oar locks ability to maneuver in multiple directions. I designed a replicate of an oar lock with an eye ring.

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Our Testing Scope

Because my team was spread across the Northeast, I tested with my mechanical prototype. Joselyn and Ian assembled the electronic components in New York, and we gathered all of our results.

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Testing Protocol

To test the effectiveness of Sight Support, we set of a 10 ft long obstacle course for users to complete. The course is 5 feet wide to replicate the width of a sidewalk. Objects were placed at every other foot. 

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We averaged the time, obstacles encountered, and ease of use of Sight Support compared to the white cane and walker as benchmark testing.

Sight Support competes with the state of the art!

Final Prototype:

Vibration Sensors + Bike Breaks

Our final prototype lives is fully equipped with bike brakes that controls the cane left and right and an ultra-sonic sensor that gives our users feedback.

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Our CAD version with electronics

We have located an Arduino on top of the cane which is contacted to a vibration at the bottom on the cane.

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Full CAD Version of Sight Support 

Our final prototype includes a circular tip for ease of navigation and bike brakes that encourages ease of use, and intuitive navigation. 

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Sight Support Video:



1. Accessible Design 

When designing for a user group who cannot see, I was pushed to be even more intentional and descriptive when articulating ideas to ours users

2. Remote Collaboration

This ENGS21 course was unique because it is normally centered around in-person meetings and solutions. One of the benefits of working in such different locations was our ability to test with a variety of people 

3. Prototype Quantity > Quality

I found that my largest breakthroughs were during the prototyping process. Just turning my ideas into physical matter allowed me to visualize the size and function of various aspects  

Next Steps:

1. Curbs and Stairs 

While Sight Support accounts for a variety of obstacles, the structure of the walker makes it difficult to maneuver stairs and uneven surfaces. We intend 

2. Patent Approval 

To secure Sight Support's design, we hope to apply for a patent 

3. HIPAA Compliance 

In order to test in nursing homes, we hope to be approved for HIPAA compliance 

Illustrations by Freepik Stories
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