Team CaneX vinder Open Innovation X, Oi-X konkurrence på DTU. De studerende i teamet er fra venstre: Antonio V. Arbues, Jingrui Ge, Mohammad Hossein Kazemi, Prasanna Chandrasekaran., Foto: Kaare Smith

Electronic cane wins innovation competition

Friday 08 Nov 19

Innovation projects


  • Marianna Lubanski, CEO // Lyngby-Taarbæk Vidensby
  • Freyr Hólm Kettilsson, Co-founder & CEO // DattacaLabs
  • Per Kolbeck Nielsen, Special Advisor // Agency for Data Supply and Efficiency
  • Matteo Calaon, Innovation Lead, DTU MEK
  • Jakob Svagin, Team Lead, DTU Skylab
  • Niels Andersen, Executive Board DTU - Business and Public Sector DTU Space


Read more about the tracks

A handheld navigation cane for visually impaired people was awarded the main prize in DTU's innovation competition Open Innovation X.

A walking stick with a wide-angle camera and utilization of satellite data for navigation received the main prize in DTU Skylab's competition Open Innovation X, Oi-X. The CaneX device for visually impaired people, designed as a handle, utilizes satellite data from the TAPAS platform and can determine a position with a precision of one cubic centimeter. The handle can also translate images from the built-in camera to physical movements in the handle, which tells the blind person whether to go right or left.

“We have agreed in the team that if we won the prize we would spend it all on further development. So that's the next step. And then we will see where it leads us,”says Mohammad Hossein, who is one of the four students in the CaneX team and who is studying Master in Wind Energy Engineering at DTU.

CaneX received Dkr. 20.000 in first prize in the track TAPAS Precision Positioning Hackathon, where they developed a concrete technological solution based on TAPAS technology to solve visually impaired peoples problem of finding their way. Unlike previous Oi-X competitions, where companies and business partners pose specific challenges, the challenge at Oi-X this year was for students to point to a problem that new technologies could be used to solve.

Strong concept

Consultant Per Kolbeck Nielsen from TAPAS emphasizes that CaneX provided a strong proof of concept and a printed physical prototype. In addition, the team has an agreement in house with the Danish Disability Association, which will act as a partner when the prototype is ready for the first test.

"We will follow the project closely since CaneX is a strong example of what exact positioning can be used for in the future," says Per Kolbeck Nielsen.

In addition, CaneX was also awarded as the overall winner of Oi-X - Green mobility & Health, which was the theme of the competition this year. And finally, CaneX has the prospect of further developing their solution with the help of DTU Skylab, as the project falls within the framework of a collaboration on inclusive design - 'Technology Leaving no one behind', which DTU Skylab has with the BEVIKA Foundation.

In addition to the TAPAS Precision Positioning track, students found new application areas and new business opportunities  where the COPERNICUS satellite data platform can be applied, and a third track was devoted to utilizing the many open health and city data in the Nordic countries to solve specific problems.

Sustainable solutions

A total of 80 students participated in the Oi-X course, which consists of a 2.5 day sprint weekend and a final. Oi-X creates a space where students, start-ups and researchers form multidisciplinary teams and develop new sustainable solutions. More than 30 mentors with profiles from Danish companies, municipalities, research projects, startups and DTU advisers participated in the process. The finals of Open Innovation X was the culmination of the Oi-X competition in the fall semester. Participating teams can now choose to continue their project in incubation programmes in collaboration with the companies and partners who have posed the challenges.

Open Innovation X - Green Mobility & Health is developed and facilitated by DTU Skylab in close cooperation with DTU's departments. The sponsors of the theme were Nordic Innovation, Copernicus Europe's Eyes on Earth and the Danish Agency for Data Supply and Efficiency and the Danish Business Authority.

The next Oi-X competition will take place in DTU Skylab in April 2020.

Winning teams

Oi-X Track TAPAS & Oi-X Head Winner: Team # 20, CaneX
Oi-X Track COPERNICUS: Team # 11, BudNip
Oi-X Track Nordic Innovation: Team # 22, SeedBoost
Oi-X Best Pitch: Team # 15, GoodToGo