Canes for the blind are one of the necessities and mobility aids for the visually impaired. A blind person can travel with a cane and use the cane to detect obstacles on ground, but a cane cannot detect objects such as tree branches, hanging advertisement signs, parked vehicles (i.e. trucks). Researchers have been recognizing the blind person’s challenges and developing smart cane so that persons with blindness can avoid collisions and protect their safety while traveling independently. For example, a team from Phoenix Medical Systems in Chennai, India, demonstrated their development stories. Here is one of their stories.
SmartCane usage by a college girl (YouTube Assistech IITD)
During the CES (Consumer Electronics show – January 2017, a French company, Fayet, introduced a smartcane called Dring. The Dring smartcane was the winner of the CES 2017 Innovation Award at this same show. The cane is currently a prototype, but it looks like the smartcane will be available to the public in the next six months.
Dring Smart Cane for the Elderly (YouTube by MobileGeeks.de)
Dring (smart cane), features include:
*Automatic detection and alert of abnormal situations
*GSM and GPS network: this feature allows users without pairing to an additional device (i.e. GPS on the smartphone)
*Long battery life – weeks of use
In addition to the features above, the connected walking cane can directly connect itself to a GSM network and send alerts. Then caregivers can automatically receive a phone call or a text message and respond back to the user with an acknowledgement of the alert. The smart cane looks like it can detect most unusual situations. I hope that this smart cane will be available in the near future at an affordable price for the blind.