Aiding Visually Impaired People with Shopping

Problem: As I was thinking about ideas for this project I decided to go through my daily routine and place myself in those situations as a differently-abled person. When I thought about grocery shopping, I realized that the entire process leans on the assumption that the person can see. After doing some more digging I found this video.

In short, currently, visually impaired people usually need an assistant to guide them through the store and pick out the things they need. The problem is that visually impaired people have difficulty being independent while shopping.

General Solution: A handheld barcode scanner which blind people can use to gather more information about the product to understand if it is what they are looking for.

Proof of Concept: an Arduino with a barcode scanner and a speaker. If there is internet connection, the speaker can give a short description of the product. If this is not an option, user can put in names of specific products and their universal product code beforehand. When product is scanned, if it is on the list, a specific sound can be played and a different one if it is not.

Fritzing Sketch:







Reflections on Week 1 Readings

Tom Igoe 

He did cover a lot of umbrella ideas in Physical Computing but I believe that there are probably solutions for some of the drawbacks he mentioned. I also appreciated that he didn’t frown upon using other’s ideas as a starting point and innovating on them. A lot of these projects were new to me and I think this post will  definitely help me brainstorm ideas.


 I enjoyed the short story. It highlighted the inevitable truth  that the distinction of humans and machines will disappear. I found it very interesting when the human asks the suit why it doesn’t just leave him, the human, behind and save itself.  In our current age, human life is valued over the life of machines but as robots become more sentient the moral and ethical standard that we are accustomed to may change as highlighted by Banks.  I noticed that the man complains about what most people would consider as trivial.  As machines assist us more and more with daily activities we forget how to do certain activities and find it debilitating to live without our devices. In the character’s case, of course, this is elevated – he complains about his suit not being able to heal him and having to walk .


I am a sophomore in electrical engineering so I have experience in circuitry and soldering. I had the chance to use both Arduino and Raspberry Pi  because of classes and Booth. I have some experience in laser cutting and 3D printing. I started playing around with p5.js during the summer but have not done too much with it.