A visually impaired engineer has created an electronic smart stick that will completely transform how blind people get around and experience the world.
Named WeWalk, the smart cane uses Bluetooth to connect with Google Maps to enable blind people to navigate their surroundings with a higher level of autonomy.
The impact of the cane
The cane has been designed and created by the engineer, Kursat Ceylan, who is not only blind himself, but is also the CEO and co-founder of the Turkish based, not for profit company, Young Guru Academy.
“In these days we are talking about flying cars,” Kursat told the American news cooperation, CNN, “but these people have been using just a plain stick.”
Although the idea is relatively simple, for visually impaired people, it will have a huge impact on how they get around and on their lives in general.
Kursat, who has been unable to see since birth, told, CNN, “As a blind person, when I am at the Metro station I don’t know which is my exit … I don’t know which bus is approaching … [or] which stores are around me. That kind of information can be provided with the WeWalk,”
The difference in designs
Although WeWalk works by just connecting the specially designed cane to the internet, it is revolutionary in the way that it is used to let people sense their environment. This is because traditional canes are used to detect obstacles below the waist, whilst this new invention can find obstructions above chest level using ultrasonic sensors that vibrate when an object is close.
It also connects to a person’s phone to use Google Maps and integrate with the voice assistant. This then uses the inbuilt speaker to let users discover when shops and places of convenience are coming up, which is not possible with the traditional stick.
Good News Network has reported that Kursat plans to add more features to the new invention, such as partnering with rideshare apps to add even more ease to the lives of blind people.