Room Navigator

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The goal of this project is to provide a way to aid the blind and blind-deaf in navigating through a room. Our goal is to create a device and a sensor that will help lead the blind and blind-deaf to devices or objectives, such as a door or help them find their phone. There will be some device that helps triangulate the position of the person in the room and uses that to measure the distance away from the objective. Also, there will be a way for a blind or blind-deaf person to understand which direction they need to move to reach the objective.


Team Members

Alexander Armour
Neal Bansal
Elizabeth Gikas
Nate Schmetter (TA)
Jim Feher (instructor)

Link to weekly log


  • Figure out how to use motors with Arduino
  • Figure out how to use infrared receivers with Arduino
  • Figure out how to use infrared LEDs with Arduino and have them blink at a certain frequency. If we use 2 sets of LEDs, have them blink at different frequencies.
  • Develop a method using the infrared receiver signal strength to accurately calculate the position of the person in the room. This will require some experimentation, measuring the infrared signal strength at carefully measured out distances
  • Provide helpful output to lead the blind or blind-deaf person to the door


Finding a way to accurately calculate position in a room (FM radio, IR)

  • Do we use bluetooth, FM radio arduino module, or infrared sensors?
  • These methods will tell us how strong the signal is. How do we compute distance in a room from the signal strength?

We plan to use LEDs with IR receivers that will be able to tell distance. They will then communicate with vibration motors that will, based on the distance, vibrate at with increased frequency as the distance is decreased.
Using Infrared Method

  • How do we find distance given the signal strength reading from the IR receiver?
  • How do we make sure they are being led in the right direction?

This challenge will be difficult as calibrating for distance will be a very time consuming task. But we will take the time to measure the distance as exact as possible. The idea is that the vibration will start when they are facing the right direction, which will be determined by the communication between the LEDs and IR receivers.
Providing output to the user that is easy to follow

  • Is changing intensity of vibration enough to lead them in the right direction?

We hope to test this soon!
Learning new coding skills

  • Coding the Arduino, using IR receiver, and motors


  • Blind people would rely heavily on this device. How do we ensure it cannot be hacked into and tampered with?

User Friendly

  • How will we make the controller something easy for the user to carry?

Finding an IR Sensor that works

  • Probably the most difficult part of this project has been finding an IR receiver that can give us good readings at a good distance. We tried a few IR Receivers (as indicated in our budget section) and ultimately came to the IR Transceiver, something used by PI Car. We believe it offers a certain directionality that the other methods were not able to while also offering a good enough distance of at most 20ft.

Future Improvements

There are several ways we believe this project can be improved:

  • Creating longer distance IR- The main problem with IR is that it hasn't been experimented with across long distances. So trying to find an IR transmitter that would fit the range of a room was very difficult. If there was more information on IR and IR transmitters, it would be easier to find the signal
  • Avoiding Objects- We had this as an optional goal once we got the device working, but we did not have the time to work on it. If the device could read the room, creating a best path that also avoids any objects or people in the room, it would make it easier to navigate.
  • Making it smaller- This isn't a large fix, but our experiment requires a 3D printed case. Having to carry it around would be annoying. We saw some projects that had a small chip that fits in their pocket but it was usually wildly inaccurate. If the device could be something that fit in your pocket and maintain accuracy, it would be more effective and useful.

Poster Presentation

Budget (Subject to Change)

  • 3-4 Arduinos, jump wires, breadboards, resistors, and power supplies (From the Lab)
  • 10 Infrared receiver for Arduino, $1.95 each, $19.50 total Link
  • Infrared LEDs, 100 for $13.36, Link

More Information Datasheet

  • 330 ohm resistors $2.85 Link
  • 6 Vibrating Motors, $29.70 Link
  • Total: $65.41


  • IR emitter and receivers Link


  • Pololu IR Beacon Transceiver $27.95 each Link

Gantt Chart