A white cane modified with ultrasonic detectors for people with visual impairment

Main Article Content

Pisak Chinchai
Rattanaroj Inthanon
Kittichai Wantanajittikul
Supaporn Chinchai


Background: A white cane is the most common equipment used by the blind for navigation. However, a cane can detect obstacles only at ground level, while many physical barriers can be at mid-body or head level.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to create a white cane with ultrasonic sensors that could detect objects at waist and head levels.

Materials and methods: Ten blindfolded participants, 5 males and 5 females, were recruited by means of purposive sampling into the study. All these participants tested the efficacy of the modified cane by walking through 3 obstacle spots; the first was a barrier at head level; the second and third were barriers at waist level.  The instruments used were: 1) The Satisfaction Assessment for Assistive Devices and 2) the electrical and assembly compartments for the ultrasonic detector. The data was analyzed using descriptive statistics.

Results: The results demonstrated that all blindfolded participants could get through the three testing stations by using the modified white cane. They also revealed high satisfaction with both the usability and efficiency of the modified cane. The highest satisfaction in usability was for the size of the cane ( gif.latex?\bar{x}±SD = 4.50±0.533). Participants also reported very high satisfaction with the efficiency of the cane in detecting objects at mid-body (gif.latex?\bar{x}±SD = 4.70±0.48) and head levels (gif.latex?\bar{x}±SD = 4.50±0.53).

Conclusion: All these results indicated that the modified cane with ultrasonic detectors was beneficial for detecting objects at mid-body and head levels in visually impaired people.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Chinchai, P., Inthanon, R., Wantanajittikul, K., & Chinchai, S. (2022). A white cane modified with ultrasonic detectors for people with visual impairment. Journal of Associated Medical Sciences, 55(3), 11–18. Retrieved from https://he01.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/bulletinAMS/article/view/255459
Research Articles


Bourne RRA, Flaxman SR, Braithwaite T, Cicinelli MV, Das A, Jonas JB, et al. Magnitude, temporal trends, and projections of the global prevalence of blindness and distance and near vision impairment: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet Glob Health. 2017; 5(9): e888-e97.

Matwanukul T. Situation of Persons with Disabilities 31 December 2020 (Quarterly) 2021, January 8 [Available from: https://dep.go.th/images/uploads/files/situation_sep63.pdf.

National Statistical Office. Number of population from registration by age, sex and province, 2020. 2020.

Eckert KA, Carter MJ, Lansingh VC, Wilson DA, Furtado JM, Frick KD, et al. A simple method for estimating the economic cost of productivity loss due to blindness and moderate to severe visual impairment. Ophthalmic Epidemiol. 2015; 22(5): 349-55.

Ramrattan RS, Wolfs RCW, Panda-Jonas S, Panda-Jonas S, Jonas JB, Bakker D, et al. Prevalence and causes of visual field loss in the elderly and associations with impairment in daily functioning: the Rotterdam Study. Arch Ophthalmol. 2001; 119: 1788-94.

McCarty CA, Nanjan MB, Taylor HR. Vision impairment predicts 5 year mortality. Br J Ophthalmol. 2001; 85(3): 322-6.

Taylor HR, Katala S, Muñoz B, Turner V. Increase in mortality associated with blindness in rural Africa. Bull World Health Organ. 1991; 69(3): 335-8.

Cardillo E, Di Mattia V, Manfredi G, Russo P, De Leo A, Caddemi A, et al. An electromagnetic sensor prototype to assist visually impaired and blind people in autonomous walking. IEEE Sensors J. 2018; 18(6): 2568-76.

Alshajajeer M, Almousa MT, Al-Haija QA. Enhanced White Cane for Visually Impaired People. J Appl. Comput Sci Math. 2018; 12(26): 9-13.

Jafri R, Khan MM. User-centered design of a depth data based obstacle detection and avoidance system for the visually impaired. Hum.-centric Comput Inf Sci.. 2018; 8(14).

dos Santos ADP, Medola F, Cinelli MJ, Ramirez ARG, Sandnes FE. Are electronic white canes better than traditional canes? A comparative study with blind and blindfolded participants. Univers Access Inf Soc. 2021; 20: 93-103.

Khan I, Khusro S, Ullah I. Technology-assisted white cane: evaluation and future directions. PeerJ 2018; 6: 1-27. doi: 10.7717/peerj.6058.

Kim SY, Cho K. Usability and design guidelines of smart canes for users with visual impairments. Int J Des. 2013;7(1):99-110.

Pyun R, Kim Y, Wespe P, Gassert R, Schneller S, editors. Advanced augmented white cane with obstacle height and distance feedback. 2013 IEEE 13th International Conference on Rehabilitation Robotics (ICORR); 2013.

Manduchi R, Kurniawan S. Mobility-related accidents experienced by people with visual impairment. AER J. 2011;4(2):44-54.

Kamal MM, Bayazid AI, Sadi MS, Islam MM, Hasan N. Towards developing walking assistants for the visually impaired people. 5th IEEE Region 10 Humanitarian Technology Confererence Dhaka, Bangladesh 2017. p. 238-41.

Lee YH, Medioni G. Wearable RGBD indoor navigation system for the blind. In: Agapito L, Bronstein M, Rother C, editors. Computer Vision - ECCV 2014 Workshops: Part 3, vol 8927. Zürich, Switzerland: Springer, 2015. p. 493-508. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16199-0_35.

Penizzotto F, Slawinski E, Mut V. Laser radar based autonomous mobile robot guidance system for olive groves navigation. IEEE Latin America Transactions. 2015, May; 13(5): 1303-13.

Ramadhan AJ. Wearable smart system for visually impaired people. Sensors. 2018;18(3).

Saaid MF, Mohammad AM, Megat Ali MSA, editors. Smart cane with range notification for blind people. 2016 IEEE International Conference on Automatic Control and Intelligent Systems (I2CACIS); 2016; Selangor, Malaysia.

Hersh MA, Johnson MA. Assistive Technology for Visually Impaired and Blind People. London, U.K.: Springer-Verlag; 2008.

Elmannai WM, Elleithy KM. A highly accurate and reliable data fusion framework for guiding the visually impaired. IEEE Access. 2018;6:33029-54.

Islam MM, Sadi MS, Zamli KZ, Ahmed MM. Developing walking assistants for visually impaired people: A review. IEEE Sens J. 2019; 19(8): 2813-28.

Kulyukin V, Gharpure C, Nicholson J, editors. RoboCart: toward robot assisted navigation of grocery stores by the visually impaired. 2005 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems; 2005.

Yuan D, Manduchi R, editors. Dynamic environment exploration using a Virtual White Cane. IEEE Computer Society Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR ’05); 2005; San Diego, California.

Tahat AA. A wireless ranging system for the blind long-cane utilizing a smart-phone. 2009 10th International Conference on Telecommunications; 2009; p. 111-117.

Punyanon T. Navigating cap for blind people [bachelor's thesis]. Chiang Mai Province, Thailand: Chiang Mai University; 2012.

Kongkumsuk K. The Navigation eye glasses for blind people [bachelor's thesis]. Chiang Mai province, Thailand: Chiang Mai University; 2014.

Office of the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Social Development and Human Security. The Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities Act, B.E.2007. 2007.

Alma MA, Van der Mei SF, Melis-Dankers BJ, Van Tilburg TG, Groothof JW, Suurmeijer TPBM. Participation of the elderly after vision loss. Disabil Rehabil. 2011; 33(1): 63-72.