SJM Students Design Sensory Smart Blind Stick for Emirates Association of the Visually Impaired

1 year

Engineering expertise comes with practice by means of exposure to real-world challenges and strategic thinking; which is particularly apt for a hands-on course such as Engineering.

Design Thinking (EGN 1133 ) at the Sharjah Men’s campus (SJM) is a programme that helps future engineers understand and develop creative ways to solve world challenges, through the five phases of Design Thinking are Discovery, Interpretation, Ideation, Experimentation and Evolution.

The objective of the Design Thinking mini project is to expose students to real world problems and apply design thinking strategies to find solutions by using hands-on skills.



  • 285 million people are estimated to be visually impaired worldwide and about 90% of the world’s visually impaired live in low-income countries. Pedestrians are often forced off of sidewalks that are cluttered with vendors, animals and other obstacles. Because of these issues, it is estimated that only about five percent of the blind children are registered for education.
  • Blind people typically use canes, but the traditional cane can’t detect objects higher than the waist. There have been many innovations but logistical issues make large-scale production impractical. That means that inventing an affordable and simple tool to aid the visually impaired has been a priority for many designers across the world.

Project execution:

Students must work in a group of four and execute the following for the mini project:

  • Discover the requirements of the visually impaired person through social media or contacting the actual person
  • Interpret what they can do to solve the challenge by listing all possibilities
  • Create the concept of the aid for visual impaired person using hand sketches, solid works/CAD software
  • Build a physical prototype using available parts in the market (3D Printing if possible)
  • Test the prototype to see if this provides a solution to the challenges discovered

Students found the visit very useful to them to understand the need of the customer and develop an idea and finally making a prototype.