She was rushing to school when she saw a blind man with a white cane walk into an advertisement board at Outram MRT station.
While Miss Siti 'atikah Mohd Raba'i, 25, was unable to tell if the man was injured, the incident stayed with her.
It motivated her to come up with an invention to help the blind avoid such accidents.
So for their final-year project at Singapore Polytechnic, Miss Siti and her team members, Mr Nurridzuan B Supardi, 24, and Mr Lai Yue Shan, 26, came up with the Sun Gauntlet - a pairing of a hat and glove that senses objects ahead and alerts the wearer to them. It only works with objects at waist level and above.
The hat and glove vibrate when there are objects ahead. The closer the user gets to an object, the higher the intensity of the vibrations.
The hat, which has a speaker, can even "talk" to the wearer, informing him of the objects ahead.
The Sun Gauntlet's sleeve has an attached Global Positioning System and Global System for Mobile Communications so the wearer can inform his next-of-kin of his exact whereabouts in the case of an emergency.
Miss Siti said: "We hope our invention will further motivate the virtually impaired to be more independent and more confident with themselves."
To ensure they were on the right track, they tested their prototype with Mr Kua Cheng Hock, 59, the first man to get a guide dog in Singapore.
Miss Siti said Mr Kua had advised them to focus on the hat because it does something that the cane is unable to do, which is to detect obstacles in front.
She said the team understands the limitations of their invention and are working to improve it.
This article was first published on January 22, 2016.
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