As reported by The Journal [source], an invention has emerged from the minds of Cork students: a motion sensor-embedded jacket designed to aid those with visual impairments in navigating their surroundings. This innovative project, crafted by Alisha Akinola and Rebecca McCarthy from Davis College in Cork, is currently showcased at the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition.
We were looking at car sensors and how if you’re reversing your car, the car will beep to let you know there’s an obstacle in your way. We thought the same would work with smart embedded clothing.Rebecca McCarthy
A Technological Leap in Assistive Wearables
The duo has ingeniously integrated ultrasonic sensors and vibration motors into the jacket. These components work in tandem to warn the wearer of nearby objects and gauge their proximity. The sensors, strategically placed on the back, front, and sleeves, draw inspiration from automotive reverse sensors, offering similar functionality for the wearer.
Inspiration and Development
McCarthy, in a conversation with The Journal, shared the inspiration behind their creation. Drawing parallels with car sensors, they envisioned a smart garment that could provide similar alerts to individuals. Akinola, whose siblings wear glasses, believes this jacket could significantly enhance their ability to navigate environments.
During their development phase, the students experimented with various sensor types before settling on ultrasonic sensors. These sensors utilize ultrasonic sound waves to detect objects, with the frequency of vibrations increasing as the wearer nears an obstacle. Their trials have shown remarkable accuracy in the jacket’s ability to calculate distances.
Future Prospects and Exhibition Excitement
Looking ahead, Akinola and McCarthy envision their jacket becoming a practical aid for the blind and visually impaired. Their ambition is to see it transform into a widely-used assistive tool.
Furthermore, McCarthy expressed excitement about participating in the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition. The event provides an excellent platform for them to discuss and showcase their hard work.
The BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition 2024
Held in the RDS in Dublin until January 13, the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition 2024 is a hub of innovation and creativity. With 500 projects from 219 schools on display, a panel of 85 STEM and business experts will award over 200 prizes. The grand prize, BT Young Scientist and Technologist of the Year, comes with a €7,500 reward and will be announced in an awards ceremony on Friday.
President Michael D Higgins graced the opening of the exhibition with his presence, emphasizing the importance of such platforms in fostering scientific and technological innovation among the youth.
Tickets for this captivating event are available on the exhibition’s website [url] or at the venue, promising an inspiring experience for attendees.
The creation of this sensory jacket by Akinola and McCarthy is a testament to the potential of young minds in addressing real-world challenges through technology and innovation. As Ireland continues to nurture young talents in the STEM field, such inventions pave the way for a more inclusive and technologically advanced society.