How Ultrasound Works
Ultrasound is sound at frequencies or pitches too high for the human ear to hear. Because ultrasound is simply sound at high frequencies, it behaves like sound in terms of how it reflects from objects or is absorbed by them.Read more
Sound can be defined as a wave which is created by vibrating objects and propagated through a medium from one location to another. Unlike electromagnetic waves, sound waves are mechanical waves, which exhibit compression and rarefactions along the “wave”. When sound, carried through the air, encounters a solid object, some of the sound is reflected back from the object, some is absorbed by the material of which the object is made, and the rest is transmitted through the object. In general, hard, less porous materials reflect more sound than do more porous materials, and more porous materials absorb more sound than do less porous ones. Because of this nature sound waves cannot travel in vacuum and travel faster in denser medium.
Humans can hear frequencies of sounds in the range of 20 Hz to 20000 Hz. Ultrasound is sound whose pitch is higher than the human ear can hear— frequencies higher than 20 kHz. They find many applications in defence, industry, medicine and other areas.
Bats use ultrasound to locate their prey using sophisticated echolocation principle. Echolocation technique can be effectively employed for ranging applications. SONAR is such an important application that was first used in the 1940s during World War II.
Transducers and sensors play a key role in various ranging applications using ultrasound. The innovation started with the invention of Piezo Electric effect by the Curies in 1880 using natural quartz crystal. In simple terms, it is the principle of converting energy by applying pressure to a crystal. The reverse of this Piezo Electric effect converts the energy back into its original form. Ultrasound sensors are based on these principles.
The frequency range of natural quartz crystals cannot be controlled. However, manmade crystals can have predetermined fundamental frequencies. Ultrasound transducers and sensors make use of such artificial crystals.
In a general ranging application, a wave pulse is transmitted through a transducer. A part of this energy is reflected back from a ‘target’. This reflected energy is captured by another transducer and utilized for further processing. Ultrasonic ranging employs the same principle of Pulse – Echo. Here electrical energy is converted into sound energy, by the transducer and transmitted as a pulse. The reflected sound energy is converted back to electrical energy by the receiving transducer. The time difference between the transmitted pulse and the received echo is proportional to the distance of the target that partially reflected back the sound energy.
All ultrasound systems use this principle for various applications.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- How do I switch ON AUSION?
The PowerON procedure is explained in the User Manual. Please refer the same for details. AUSION can be switched ON by pressing the MAIN key for about 1 second.Read more
- Do I get any indication that AUSION has switched ON?
Yes. You can get the indication in two ways. When you switch ON AUSION from a previously OFF condition, it gives a unique PowerON Tune. Secondly, if you would like to check if it is already ON, wave your hand in front of AUSION and it will give certain audio tones.
- I pressed the MAIN key, but AUSION does not seem to be switched ON.
You have to press the MAIN key for about 1 second and wait for the PowerON tune to be played by AUSION. If this is not the case, please refer to the User Manual.
- Can I select the range setting that I want anytime?
Yes, it can be done any time when AUSION is ON.
- When selecting a range setting that I want, do I have to remember the previous setting?
No, you do not have to remember or recollect any previous settings. You can select the desired range setting anytime you like.
- Does AUSION operate on a battery?
Yes, AUSION uses a standard 9V battery as its power source.
- How long does the battery last?
It depends on the actual usage of AUSION. A typical 4 hours of usage per day will ensure that the battery lasts for 5 months or beyond.
- Can I recharge the battery?
NO, the battery used in AUSION CANNOT be charged. No external charging of the battery should be attempted. It will result in explosion and may cause serious injuries and should not be attempted.
- Where can I get spare or replacement batteries?
These are standard 9V batteries and are available in any electrical store throughout the country. Please dispose of the used batteries properly.
- Do I have to use only the earphones supplied with AUSION? Can I used any standard earphones?
You can use any standard earphone / headphone and operations of AUSION will not be hampered in any manner. Ensure that you plug the earphone into only one of your ears, which will enable you to gather other environmental sounds without any hindrance.
- Does AUSION provide any tactile or vibration information?
No, the current version of AUSION does not provide any tactile or vibratory feedback for the obstacles ahead.
- I am a deaf blind? Will AUSION be useful for me?
No, the current version of AUSION provides feedback about the environment to the user through audio tones and tunes. Good hearing ability is important for using AUSION.
Hence it will not be useful for the Deaf Blinds.
- While walking around with AUSION as a guide, do I have to keep any key pressed?
No, while using AUSION for your navigation, you do not have to keep any key depressed. Simply switch ON and keep the device in your hand and keep scanning the environment in front of you. AUSION will indicate any obstacles in your path.
- AUSION gives a continuous high pitched tone and doesn’t seem to do anything.
It is possible that your finger may be partially blocking AUSION’s sensors in the front. Move your fingers away from AUSION’s sensors located in the front and rest them in the finger guide. If the problem persists, bring AUSION to a service centre near your location.
- Is AUSION water proof?
No, AUSION is not water proof. It can only tolerate a light drizzle, before water starts getting inside. Do not use AUSION while it rains and do not drop AUSION into water.
If you suspect that water could have seeped inside, switch OFF AUSION, remove battery and let the unit dry completely overnight or longer or by using warm air from a hair dryer.
- I am a blind person. Will I be able to replace AUSION’s battery on my own? Do I need to ask for someone’s help for replacing the same?
Yes, you will be able to replace AUSION’s battery on your own. AUSION is designed in such a way that it provides tactile information about the polarity of the battery, so that installation will always be right. You can feel the polarity information marked inside the battery compartment and install the battery accordingly. Ensure that the battery is installed with the correct polarity. Failure to do so may result in permanent damage to AUSION. There are no cables or wires to connect.
- AUSION uses ultrasound waves. Does this cause any harm to the users or people around them?
AUSION uses very low intensity / low energy ultrasound waves. It does not cause any harm and is safe to use on a regular basis.
- Does AUSION interfere with any other equipment or gadgets causing them to malfunction?
AUSION does not interfere with the operation of any other electronic equipment or gadget.
- Can AUSION indicate to me about the type of objects or wet surfaces?
No, AUSION will only indicate the presence or absence of an obstacle ahead in the path and does not provide any indication about the type and texture of an object or obstacle.
- Can I discard the usage of the white cane after I become comfortable with the usage of AUSION?
Unlike the white cane, AUSION is NOT a Primary travel aid for the visually impaired. It is highly encouraged and recommended that you continue to use AUSION always in conjunction with the traditional white cane.
- Do I need to be familiar with basic mobility techniques before using AUSION?
Yes, it is recommended that you become familiar with standard mobility and cane usage techniques before beginning to use AUSION.
- How much of coverage does AUSION provide for detecting obstacles?
AUSION provides an approximate coverage of a 40 Degree cone. This means that you will get to know about all obstacles within a 1 metre circle at a distance 1 metre away from you. The coverage will be higher if you had selected a higher range setting.
- Can I get to know about overhanging obstacles with AUSION?
Yes, you will able to detect any overhanging obstacle like a tree branch, with AUSION.
- While I am walking on the road, I noticed that I do not get any feedback from AUSION for objects at my head level. Is there any problem with the device?
While walking with AUSION as the guide, you must scan the area in the front with slight up-down and left-right movements of AUSION with your hand and should not keep it in a static manner. This will ensure that most objects above your head and below the knee are picked up by AUSION. The key is to scan.
- Can I connect AUSION to my computer or mobile phone?
No, AUSION is an independent device and does not have the interfaces to connect to a computer or such equipment.
- Can I mount AUSION on my white cane?
No, currently it is not possible to fix AUSION to the white cane. However, InnovationHub may bring about a provision to mount AUSION on the white cane in the future.
- How reliable is AUSION?
AUSION is a product that evolved after more than two years of R&D, prototyping and testing. It has gone through multiple rounds of field trials with actual users. It incorporates feedback from mobility experts. AUSION uses the latest technology in terms of reliable manufacturing. It is sturdily and ergonomically designed and fabricated in way that it does not shatter into multiple pieces when it is accidentally dropped from the waist level. We believe that enough care and precaution has gone into the various design and engineering aspects of AUSION. Handled in the proper manner, we believe that AUSION will provide many years of service to the user.
- Is AUSION imported? Where is it made?
AUSION is completely an indigenous product made in India. Except for a few electronic components, all parts of AUSION are fabricated to highest standards, within India.
- The feedback levels from AUSION is very low. Is there a problem with the device?
You may adjust the volume level of the feedback from AUSION using the Volume UP and Volume DOWN keys on AUSION. You can increase the volume to a level comfortable to you, by depressing the Volume UP key multiple times.
- I have undergone mobility training with the white cane. Is it necessary for me to undergo training again when I purchase AUSION?
Yes, it is highly recommended that you undergo a specific training for familiarising yourself with AUSION and the effective ways to use it. The training will equip you with the ability to correlate the tones provided as feedback from AUSION and the corresponding distance to the obstacles, various confirmatory and warning tunes and techniques to handle various situations during mobility.
IN THE NEWS
1. Bangalore Mirror, “THE SEEING EYE”, June 1, 2015
2. MOTHERBOARD, “This Handheld Device Will Help The Blind Echolocate”, July 20, 2015
3. Tech Times, “This Small Device Will Help Blind People Echolocate”, July 20, 2015
4. Deccan Herald, “IITans Invent Aid Kit For The Visually Impaired”, September 26,2015
5. Jet Wings, “AUSION”, October 2015
6. Deccan Herald, “Mobility device for visually impaired”, December 2015
7. New Indian Express, “Travel Aid Device for Visually Impaired Launched”, December 2015
8. Rotary News, “Audio Vision – Made In India”, May 2016
Data on disability in India as per the Census of 2011:
Global Data on Blindness and Visual Impairment by World Health Organization:
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