A blind engineer from Turkey invented a ‘Smart Cane’ that uses Google Maps and ultrasonic motion sensors to help visually impaired people navigate.
The advent of technology in the modern world is quite apparent these days—smartphones, gadgets, microchips, robots, and more of the sort in today's environment. The quality of technology improved over the years, but the dynamic motives behind the development and release of new electronic automation have mostly been directed towards human endeavors in the military-industrial complex and in entertainment.
There are still many new ventures and scientific initiatives that are pro-humanitarian in nature. Not too long ago, a revolutionary design in the form of a smart cane called WeWalk came into the public spectrum. WeWalk is essentially a 'smart-cane', similar to your smartphones, that helps visually impaired people find their way around their surroundings and navigate themselves more efficiently and conveniently—especially when they are by themselves.
The cane was invented by a visually impaired engineer Kursat Ceylan, who is the CEO and co-founder of Young Guru Academy (YGA), the Turkish non-profit behind WeWALK. Being blind himself, Ceylan knows firsthand what challenges people like him face and decided to put his knowledge into inventing something that could greatly improve people’s life.
“In these days, we are talking about flying cars, but these people have been using just a plain stick. As a blind person, when I am at the Metro station, I don’t know which is my exit… I don’t know which bus is approaching… which stores are around me. That kind of information can be provided with the WeWalk,” he told CNN.
The website of this ingenious product reports: WeWALK attaches to the traditional white cane, transforming it into an innovative smart cane. This technology increases visually impaired people’s independence and promotes full participation in society via three of its features.
WeWalk enables a visually impaired person to detect obstacles above the chest-level. The smart-cane is equipped with a state-of-the-art ultrasonic sensor that vibrates when physical objects are nearby. To use the WeWalk, one may simply pair the smart-cane with their phone using the product's mobile application found on app stores. Using Bluetooth, you can use the app with the touchpad on the WeWalk cane and thereby change settings without having to hold or use their phone. That goes to say that you can continue with your standard map navigation using just the cane. WeWalk has been integrated with "Google Maps" and "Voice Assistant" and also plans on integrating with local transportation and ride-sharing services in the near future.
It is ridiculous that we have smart everything, phones, fridges, heating, while blind people have to walk around with a white stick. Here’s the incredible sounding smart cane from this morning’s @VirginRadioUK Good News story https://t.co/0opq25XDEh— Eddy Temple-Morris (@eddyTM) September 5, 2019
According to the World Health Organization, 39 million people worldwide are blind and another quarter of a billion are visually impaired. Now, with the WeWalk, which sells on their official website store for $499, their lives just got a whole lot easier. This is a great example of technology being used in the best way possible. It's not about monetary gain or fame here, it's about creating an environment to be inclusive and support as many people as possible.