The immense power of modern technology has changed our lives in ways that were unimaginable even a couple of decades back. Many technological inventions or re-inventions have concentrated their efforts to alleviate the problems of the disabled and make life easier for them. One such invention is the smart cane invented by a blind engineer so that the blind can navigate using Google maps.
This revolutionary cane is the WeWalk. This intelligent walking and navigating aid help blind people find their way through their surroundings in an efficient manner even if they are alone.
Kursat Ceylan, an engineer is the inventor of the cane. He is visually impaired and the co-founder and CEO of Young Guru Academy, the Turkish non-profit which is behind WeWalk.
As he is blind, Kusrat is well-acquainted with the challenges that blind people face. He decided to use his technical skills to invent a device that addresses the problems that blind people face in navigating through their surroundings when they are alone. He came up with WeWalk with which the blind can navigate using Google maps.
We talk of colonizing Mars but the blind still rely on a plain stick to find their way. In a railway station or at the departmental store, they are forced to ask their way around, which might not always be forthcoming. Information like the destination of an approaching bus or the nearest store are all provided by the WeWalk, Kusrat revealed in an interview with CNN.
According to reports by the World Health Organization, there are 39 million blind people worldwide and a quarter of a billion have various degrees of visual impairment.
The use of smart technology for blind people is innovative as it uses tools that are available to us every day.
It has built-in speakers along with a voice assistant. Sensors send vibrations to warn of obstacles that are above the chest level.
This cane can be sourced from the company website and costs $500. It can be linked to a smartphone’s Bluetooth system for better control.
The project is still in the trial phase. Every hardware necessary for a personal voice assistant is there in the cane including a speaker, compass, microphone, and Bluetooth.
The WeWalk project won the Edison Award, one of the most prestigious U.S. awards in the field of innovation.
Imagination is at the heart of every innovation. We can only thank Kusrat Ceylan for his unique invention which has introduced technology into these ancient contraptions, the stick for the visually challenged that has ensured that even on their own the blind can navigate using Google maps.