Blind Engineer Developed a Smart Cane which Uses Google Maps & Sensors to Identify Surroundings

WeWALK’s smart cane allows blind and visually impaired individuals to travel with confidence by easing the navigation on the streets.

According to the WHO, there are 285 million people with visual impairments and 39 million blind people globally. This makes the assistive tech market big and growing.

According to estimates by experts, its global value will rise from $14 in 2015 to $30.8 billion in 2024.

Sadly, individuals with impairments have 39 percent smaller likelihood of going outdoors than those without impairments.

So, there is need of finding useful methods of encouraging and helping disabled individuals go out more often.

These new assistive technologies aim to do precisely this.

The Smart Cane for Visually-Impaired Individuals by WeWalk

The CEO and founder of WeWALK, Kursat Ceylan was born blind. He realized the importance of developing a more improved cane for blind people to use inspired by his own difficulties.

In a CNN interview, Ceylan said that these days, we’re talking about flying cars, but there’s nothing more than a plain stick for blind people.

This is why he designed the WeWALK smart cane- it can be paired with a phone app through Bluetooth. The users can request cane navigation without taking their phones out.

They can control the cane using a touchpad or through voice control.

This stick helps detect obstacles easier which is highly beneficial when walking in busy streets or walking in general.

This is achieved thanks to the ultrasonic sensor which can detect obstacles above one’s chest height up to 63 inches away.

The warning is done through a vibration.

The cane boasts a battery life of 4 to 5 hours and language support is currently available only in two languages- Turkish and English.

Exciting News, but what about the Financial Obstacles?

Despite the fact that these new techs are wonderful and highly beneficial, they’re still out of reach for a lot of disabled people.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 19.1 percent of disabled people worked in 2018 and in the same year, 65.9 percent of people without disabilities had a job.

For those who can’t work because of a disability, spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on new tech is impossible.

These new techs are quite expensive and not available to the general public of disabled people.

But, their production shouldn’t stop- as companies continue making them and making more of them, the costs are more likely to drop.

The WeWALK cane is currently available for $499, but they do offer some incentives for those who’re not able to afford the cane.

Their website offers the ability to donate a stick to a person who needs it, but can’t buy it for themselves.

Sources:

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