As we reported early last month, there are many resources available to blind people, including Social Security benefits, to help them with medical costs and everyday expenses. Scientists are also constantly trying to improve technology to help people who are blind, and a new cane is turning heads for its clever use of modern technology.
A design student came up with the idea for the BlindSpot cane, which is enabled with GPS and smartphone technology. The audio interface not only allows a person to stroll down the street with more ease, but it also helps them navigate social settings.
The student says her aim was to not only help with the physical aspects of blindness, but the emotional ones as well.
With the GPS technology, the cane can alert people if someone they know is nearby and direct them to where they can go to say "hello." As a feature on Co.Exist notes, this can feel like a major step in terms of a person's autonomy.
The cane will reportedly send an audio message when a friend checks into Foursquare, saying how near the person is. It will also give the option to call that friend or go find them.
And, notably, the cane also has an ultrasonic censor that can help prevent people from running into things such as hanging objects.
The electronic components of the cane can be detached for a user's convenience, and the electronic portion can still be used like a cellphone, according to Co.Exist.
Technology is only going to make tools for blind people more useful. The National Federation for the Blind is apparently looking into ways to allow people with visual impairments to drive safely. That one will probably take a while, but the possibilities are exciting for many.
Source: Co.Exist, "A cane for the blind improves social interactions, Sunday strolls," Alex Goldmark, Nov. 28, 2011
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