We have finally succeeded in removing one major component from the belt. The initial design of the belt had mbed in it. We were using mbed to generate PWM (Pulse width Modulation) to be sent to the actuators (vibration motors in our case). However, we eventually figured out that the same functionalities can be provided by PandaBoard without incurring that extra component cost of mbed.
PandaBoard has on-board GPIO (General Purpose Input Output) pins that can be used to render multiple functionalities. We configured three GPIO pins as output and created three software threads to generate variable-duty PWM. This PWM further actuates the vibration motors to guide the visually impaired in obstacle-detection.
Removal of mbed is a major breakthrough for us as we are continuously working on decreasing the size of the belt to make a sleek wearable design.