All of us have seen visually impaired (blind, or with very poor eyesight) people struggle to make their way around the city using those familiar white canes that help them feel for obstacles, understand where the pavement ends, or manoeuver down a flight of stairs. We can only imagine how hard it must be.
An inventor has created a new ‘smart cane’ called WeWalk that looks like it will change the way visually impaired people can move around, making things much easier for them!
What is WeWalk? WeWalk is a ‘Smart Cane’ that has an electronic handle that holds a normal white cane. This technology interfaces with the user through an app on the phone and Bluetooth wireless headphones. It senses obstacles that are above waist level and warns the user by vibrating. It also, importantly, gives the user information about his or her surroundings, such as the neighbourhood they are in, the kind of stores there are around, the number of the bus that is approaching, and other tactical information that we take for granted. It can also interact with apps like Google Maps and voice assistants like Siri to provide the user with directions.
The inventor and developers hope to eventually be able to link it to Uber and other ride sharing and transportation apps as well.
That sounds cool! Who designed it? A Turkish inventor and CEO of the Young Guru Academy (YGA), Kursat Ceylan, who is blind himself, and knows the challenges first-hand, came up with the WeWalk technology. He hopes this will help other visually impaired people integrate more fully into society and enable them to do more things independently.
Written by: Disha Mirchandani. Disha is a former lawyer turned freelance content writer. She is a fitness enthusiast and amateur aerialist with her own fitness photo-blog as well.