People with visual impairments have used the same white cane for nearly a century. A company called WeWALK hopes to revolutionize this basic idea to change the way that individuals with blindness interact with the rest of the world.
The new smart cane includes ultrasonic sensors and GPSN navigation to improve the functionality over the traditional device. It creates an interactive experience that detects obstacles above the waist instead of what is immediately in front of a person.
Although the functionality of the product is vastly improved, the physical design of the smart cane still follows traditional concepts. That makes it very comfortable for someone to start using it with their daily routine.
How Does the Smart Cane Level the Playing Field?
WeWALK’s technology allows someone with blindness to become aware of things like street signs or overhead poles. It pairs with a smartphone and several software options to create a customizable experience for each user.
That means you can use Google’s Voice Assistant or Mapes to ask for directions. Then the smart cane can guide the individual to the nearest coffee shop, café, or bus stop.
A touchpad on the device eliminates the need to hold the cane in one hand and a phone in the other.
The goal of this product is to have it fully integrated into smart cities, ride-sharing apps, and public transportation updates. It operates on an open platform to encourage diverse ideas to make it better.
That means a visual impairment is no longer an obstacle to a person’s desire to travel.