The bus transport system is seldom tuned to the special needs of the visually challenged. Identification of buses arriving at bus stops is difficult because route numbers are only displayed on the number plate. Moreover, a number of buses arrive together and line up arbitrarily at bus stops. Even after identification, since the physical location is unknown, it is difficult to navigate towards the bus and board it. On Board uses wireless radio-frequency technology to identify route number of buses present and approaching a bus stop. The users are then assisted to navigate towards the bus by providing auditory cues emanating from the entry of the bus. The system has been successfully tested on university buses. Pilot trials on Delhi Roads on regular city buses are being planned with support from DIMTS (Delhi Integrated Multi Modal Transit System Ltd).
On Board was started by my able seniors Dheeraj Mehra and Rohan Paul during their undergraduation. They demonstrated the concept and created a lab prototype of the system. The system went through the first stages of user testing before I joined in 2012. The feedbacks from the user formed the basis of my work. User mentioned the technical difficulties they faced while operating the system consisting of a user module and a device mounted on the bus. There was immense time lag, noisy feedback, incorrect responses to name a few. They also expressed their concern about the usability and external design of the module. My job was to create an optimally shaped and reliable hardware for the new module. It took me about 15 days to survey the existing designs and alternative solutions and another 3 months (irregularly) to implement the optimized solution on the PCB which was printed from an external vendor. Based on recorded user feedbacks, I then iteratively designed CAD enclosures for my PCB which on printing seemed much convenient to hold, carry and operate. Once assembled, the system was deployed on institute buses and field tested with 6 visually impaired individuals for much favorable feedbacks.
Figure 1: User module (Left) and Bus module (Right)
Yogesh Taneja, Anuraag Gupta, Piyush Chanana and 14 others, "Study of challenges faced by visually impaired persons in accessing public buses and design and user testing of an affordable bus identification and homing system for the visually impaired.", In 13th International Conference on "Mobility and Transport for Elderly and Disabled Persons", 2012.
Dheeraj Mehra, Vaibhav Singh, Rohan Paul and 9 others, "User triggered Bus identification and homing system: Making public transport accessible for the visually challenged", In 12th International Conference on "Mobility and Transport for Elderly and Disabled Persons", 2010. (Download Pdf)
Innovative Student Project Award, Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE), 2008 [National Award]
Best Industry Relevant Research, Forum for Innovation and Technology Transfer (FITT), IIT Delhi, 2008.
IIT Delhi Alumni Association Award, 2007