Tech for blind citizens
It’s a very clever system that allows blind people to move around by themselves in the subway corridors. How does it work? Thanks to a mobile application on a smartphone and earphones, the person receives real-time instructions on where he or she is and what to do to get around. For example: turn right, go down the stairs to the gate, follow the corridor leading to the platform, etc.
This innovative device works thanks to small beacons scattered in the subway corridors, which permanently emit a signal that is picked up by the smartphone. It’s more accurate than GPS, which also doesn’t work when you’re underground or simply inside a building. The system is called Wayfindr. It has been developed by UsTwo, a company that specialized in digital interfaces. For the moment, it is only being tested in the London Underground, at Pimlico station, and since last summer at San Francisco airport, in the United States.
In the same genre, another innovation to help blind people: no more need for earphones, these are… shoes that help to find your way. These are vibrating shoes that indicate the direction to follow. Depending on the shoe that starts to vibrate, the person knows whether to turn right or left. The shoes in question look like somewhat futuristic sneakers, rather pretty, which communicate via Bluetooth with the smartphone. This also exists in the form of connected soles that you can put in any pair of shoes. The system uses the GPS navigation application of the smartphone. It is rather intended to guide the user in the street. A system developed by an Indian company, Ducere. This could also be marketed for other uses, for example, to help tourists find their way in a city they do not know.
Until now, traditional canes and guide dogs have been the only “guides” available for the visually impaired or blind. But that could change with this life-changing technology. Innovation is making further progress in this direction with this new portable sensory device. It uses vibrations for this purpose.
A video presentation of the WeWALK cane:
Vibration is a key element in the process of creating a device or apparatus for visually impaired people. This smart cane is called WeWALK. It has recently arrived on the market and was created by Young Guru Academy. With its sensory system and obstacle avoidance function, it helps the visually impaired and blind to gain independence. This tool can change their lives.
Detecting obstacles with ultrasound
The WeWALK cane is equipped with ultrasonic sensors that alert the user to the presence of objects on the ground or overhead. This technology is based on an open platform which allows all users to add third party applications. The smart cane has a microphone and supports several applications such as Google Maps for navigation. Various partnerships with ride-sharing services (Lyft, Uber) are also in development.
WeWALK contains audible alerts as well as a very soft and ergonomic handle. Its software development kit and tools allow developers to directly access the cane’s capabilities to create a full range of practical solutions that meet the needs of all user profiles. The creators of the WeWALK cane wish to respond to a rapidly expanding market and to the constraints of visually impaired people.