It is about time that contemporary modern technology is being used for the vision impaired beyond the mere usage of computers.
Students at the Birmingham City University packed a lot of brains into a cane turning it into a “smart cane.” The ‘XploR’ mobility cane, being developed by ICT students Steve Adigbo, Waheed Rafiq and Richard Howlett, uses smartphone technology to recognise familiar faces from up to 10 metres away. The cane also features GPS functionality to aid navigation says the article on the university web site.
I like the fact that this project did not start–as usual–with a technology focus but that the students started with market research to find out what key features would be desirable in such a novel device. They came up with the following features for the XploR:
- Detects faces 10m away
- Uses facial recognition
- Vibrates if it sees a known face
- Will provide turn-by-turn guidance via earpiece/bluetooth to friends, family and other places
- Warns about obstacles in the way
We will need look into more areas to put technologies to good use for the functionally challenged and the growing rate of the elderly.
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