Eleven students from the Morehouse College MakerSpace Exploration Center have scored a first-place win in the 2019 Lexus Toyota-Building Legacy Dreaming Out Loud Next Generation Mobility Design Competition in Atlanta. The objective of the competition was “to challenge the next generation of designers to create new solutions to transportation and mobility issues.”
Morehouse’s first-place team won $1,500 recently with a conceptual project called “The WayFinder System,” designed to help people navigate in a more detailed way. Winners were: sophomore Caleb Baines, sophomore Robert Blaine, and junior Carter Bowdoin, all dual degree program majors at Morehouse.
“Winning this competition demonstrates the versatility of MakerSpace scholars,” said Lycurgus Muldrow, executive director of the HBCU STEM Undergraduate Success (STEM-US) Research Center at Morehouse College. “These are scholars who have branched out into innovation concerning transportation, and they are to be strongly congratulated.”
The WayFinder System uses an app, proximity sensors, and a special walking stick designed to assist people who are visually impaired, explained Ayodeji Oyesanya, MakerSpace Engineering manager at the Morehouse College MakerSpace Exploration Center.
“The WayFinder System incorporates regular eyeglasses with a proximity sensor so if you are about to walk into an obstruction, the sensor would relay that information through headphones that are connected to the glasses, which are also incorporated to the smartphone app,” Oyesanya explained.
A technologically advanced walking stick is another big part of the WayFinder System. “The stick has sensors so that while people are walking, if they get to the edge of a street, it alerts them so they can top or avoid the obstruction,” says Oyesanya.
The system also uses Google Maps so that visually impaired people can find the safest routes to go. “People who have walked that route can say it’s safer than other routes available,” Oyesanya said.
No prototypes have been made from the conceptualized design, but students are considering making one to compete in other competitions.