Helping the visually-impaired see with ATtiny85

A computer science student at UW-Milwaukee going by the handle of “bergerab” has created a mountable visual aid using Atmel’s ATtiny85 microcontroller (MCU).


Along with the ATtiny85 MCU, the Maker completed his build with the help of these materials:

  • HC SR-04
  • SPST Slide Switch
  • Two CR2032 batteries (with holder)
  • NPN transistor
  • 1N4007 Diode
  • Perfboard (5 cm x 7 cm)
  • DC Vibration Motor (salvaged from an Xbox controller)
  • A mounting surface (i.e. a hat)

In a recent Instructables post, bergerab described Helping Eyes as “a visual aid, which can be mounted to any apparel to prevent injury to the visually impaired. It uses an ultrasonic range sensor to ‘sense’ objects and sends vibrations to warn its wearer of the incoming object.”

The functionality of the device is designed around the notion that “as an object comes closer, the vibration’s intensity increases.”


Prior to soldering Helping Eyes’ components to the perfboard, the Maker ensured that the batteries could be easily replaced and that the DC vibration motor had plenty of place to spin. He also made an effort to “mount the HC SR-04 straightly with nothing obstructing its view,” in order to get the best signal for the device.


Once the device was assembled, the Maker chose to mount his creation to a hat. “Since this device is so small, it can be mounted to many surfaces (such as clothing, hats, belt buckles, etc..). I chose to mount mine to a hat to prevent against accidents involving low ceilings in homes,” he noted.

Given the variety of mounting surfaces, the Maker says one could either sew an Arduino Lilypad (ATmega168V or ATmega328Vinto the fabric, attach via velcro or adhere use hot glue.

Bergerab hopes that his creation will help those with visual impairments, as well as inspire others to develop similar aids. You can find the Helping Eyes project’s official Instructables page here.

1 thought on “Helping the visually-impaired see with ATtiny85

  1. Pingback: (AT)tiny solution for a big backpack problem | Bits & Pieces from the Embedded Design World

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