Smart cane for blind can remotely sense obstacles: Scientists

Nov 26, 2016 08:00 IST

Scientists in the third week of November 2016 developed a new smart cane that can help transform the lives of the blind and visually impaired by allowing them to sense the obstacles which are beyond the physical length of their walking stick

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This smart cane is named as 'mySmartCane'. It was developed by the researchers from The University of Manchester in the UK.

How Smart Cane will be helpful for the visually impaired?
• It works much like a common car parking sensor.
• The ultrasonic ball in the cane wirelessly measures the distance towards the approaching objects and converts this data into an audio signal.
• The visually impaired user can determine the object distance from the frequency of the sound, before the cane reaches an object.
• The user can hear the sounds through single headphone or through a pair of boneconducting headphones. This will enable them to listen to their external environment as well without losing their freedom.
• This modernised white-cane is simple and low-cost as it is fixed with 3D printing and cheap sensors to create an ultrasonic sensory ball, which attaches to the bottom of most existing white-canes.

Background

Vasileios Tsormpatzoudis, from the University’s School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, upgraded the white cane by adding a low-cost embedded computer. For centuries, it was used only as a mobility tool.

He was inspired to develop mySmartCane after witnessing the struggles of his mother who has retinis pigmentosa, a hereditary eye disorder which affects the retina.

 

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