Multi-disciplinary humanitarian designer


Product Design, Humanitarian, Critical Design
Spring 2015




Magoo is a necklace and glove wearable device that assists the blind in obstacle detection and GPS-enabled navigation through haptic feedback.


In the US, 6.6 million adults have a visual disability. Out of those 6.6 million, only 20% have guide dogs. The other 80% must rely on walking sticks, their sense of sound, and other people in order to avoid obstacles and navigate from place to place.


How it works

In obstacle detection, the user wears a necklace that contains an ultrasonic sensor, which provides vibration (haptic feedback) on the neck if the user is within 2 meters range of a barrier in front of them.

The second piece is an arm-length glove which houses the actuators and wifi component and features a beautiful, tactile design on the top. The user inputs his/her destination using a voice command and the integrated circuit on the glove commutes with the GPS to find the optimal route to this destination piece wise (every 0.1 miles) by finding a direction vector. The user can swing his/her arm to track the right direction. As the user's arm falls in the region of 'correct direction vector' (as indicated by GPS), the user gets a haptic feedback which points them in the right direction. This not only helps the blind in convenient navigation, but also prevents them from getting lost. 

We created this design after collecting feedback from visually impaired people in DSP (Disabled Students Program) on campus, who highlighted that 'reduction in chances of head injuries' and 'non-obtrusive way of navigation' are the key features they feel this device should have.

Learn more about our process and hardware on Hackster.io.


Design Decisions

As a designer on the team, a major challenge in the making of this device was finding a form factor that would be both easy to use and non-obtrusive to the user. We knew we wanted to utilize haptic feedback to inform the user of the direction they should be headed in and whether they were walking into an obstacle but had no idea where we should put this haptic feedback. Initially we thought of creating a shoe, belt, or glove. After doing user research and speaking with people from DSP, we decided to go with the form factor of a glove.


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