Chandrakant 'CK' Isi
04th Jul 2014
While we are busy complaining about our sluggish smartphones, some people are facing 'real' problems. India has a largest population of visually impaired people. Forget education and jobs, even going from a point A to B is quite a task for them. A cane is an age-old solution that helped blind move around independently. However, a traditional cane can only help visually impaired detect obstacles that are on the ground. However, vehicles with high-ground clearance, sign-boards, railings, window protrusions, and tree branches are difficult to sense using the white cane. Because of this, blind people end-up colliding on streets. Apart from being embarrassing, it can also cause serious injuries to them. Plus, such incidents have a negative impact on an individual's confidence to walk independently.
To address this archaic problem, a team of researchers backed by NGO developed the SmartCane. The research required for this project was done by IIT Delhi, and it was funded by the charitable foundation Wellcome Trust (UK). The Chennai-based company, Phoenix Medical Systems put the SmartCane on the assembly line.
How Does It Work?
Rather than being a completely new product, the Smartcane is an accessory that fits onto your traditional white cane. It uses a ultrasound emitter to detect objects. Reportedly, the SmartCane can detect a three centimetre wide pipe from three metres. The device's range can be adjusted between 1.8 to 3 metres depending on the surroundings. For instance, short range mode is ideal crowded places.
The device uses a certain vibration pattern to alert the user. This method is better than audio alerts, because sound may not be audible on the streets, where this device is intended to be used. Plus, it won't cause any nuisance to other people. It is powered by a rechargeable Li–ion battery. The creators have also worked hard to improve the ergonomics with enhanced grip. The SmartCane adheres to IP22 (Ingress protection) standards, which means that the users doesn't have to worry about the water splashes. Constructed using polycarbonate, it can also withstand accidental falls. While SmartCane is easy to use, the creators believe that a little training can help the person use it more effectively. As reported by TheBetterIndia.com, such training sessions are held by around 15 welfare organisations across the country.
With years of research and optimal manufacturing process, the makers of SmartCane have managed to keep its cost within the reach of a commoner. The product is available for Rs 3000 across India. Visit this page, to get in touch with the SmartCane partner organisations that reach out to end users.
Affordable SmartCane Uses SONAR To Guide Visually Impaired
Students of IIT Delhi have created a smart white cane that uses ultrasound to help blind to walk independently.
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