C4Me gives vision to the sightless 

21 February 2020

By Bongani Ramatsetse

A deep compassion of seeing fellow blind students struggling and trying to find their way inside and outside of campus, spearheaded an innovation to guide the blind on their way. Four students from the Tshwane University of Technology’s Faculty of Information and Communication Technology, designed an incredible device, C4ME, that helps to guide blind people around obstacles in their way.

The two C4ME devices invented by four ICT students to assist the visually impaired people. 

The four young men, who graduated with the Diploma in Information Technology, specialised in Intelligent Industrial Systems at the Soshanguve South campus, conceptualised the idea in 2018. 

Sharing their story, the students explained their journey to developing the device. “On a particular day while walking around campus, a blind student bumped into us. Another time we saw a blind student who wanted to leave campus but  the gate was closed as it was a weekend”, they said. Seeing these students having a difficult time because of their visual impairments, they decided to utilize their skills and knowledge to invent “C4ME” (see for me) to help them.  

The C4ME device assists by giving out warnings and instructions on possible objects that might be in front of the visually impaired people.  “The person will wear the goggles that detects obstacles/objects that a person comes across, giving out warnings through voice instruction guiding the user to move safely, either left or right, around the particular object.”

Owing to their hard work and determination, Redbull recognised their invention. This was followed by an invitation to pitch their idea against 20 other countries in a competition sponsored by Redbull in Toronto, Canada. Two of the four partners, Philanjalo Ndlovu and Siphamandla Mqcina, represented them at the completion, ending in the top 10. 

“Although we have not yet tested in on an actual blind person, we want to improve the C4ME device through innovation, making it more user friendly.” As inventors, they first tested it on themselves as the goggles completely covers the eyes, even to the ones that can see.

Their drive towards success even had them digging from their own pockets to fund the project. Their efforts and drive are what keep them going. 

Having become close friends, the inventors plan to raise funds to continuously improve their device.

From left to right: Philanjalo Ndlovu (26), Clifford Chibi (23), Thembeka Manetje (ICT Faculty Marketer), Emmanuel Mahlangu (20) and Siphamandla Mqcina (21).

For more information on the Tshwane University of Technology, please contact Willa de Ruyter, Corporate Affairs and Marketing.
Tel: +27 12 382 5352   Email: deruyterw@tut.ac.za