For people with visual impairments, a simple trip to the store can become a significant ordeal. Even in familiar areas, things change, and the traditional tool – a white cane – has its limitations.
Now, a new development in canes may change the way people with blindness move through the world.
It’s called the WeWALK Smart Cane, and its unique technology helps visually impaired people detect obstacles more than chest high with ultrasonic sensors. When the cane senses an impediment, the handle vibrates.
The cane also has Bluetooth capabilities and built-in speakers. It uses Google Maps and Voice Assistance in navigating city streets. When paired with the WeWALK app and a smart phone, users are alerted audibly when approaching stores and other facilities.
CEO and co-founder of WeWALK, Kursat Ceylan, who is also visually impaired, told CNN he wanted to create a stick to aid in more than just walking. His WeWALK cane is capable of telling him which bus or train is coming, where to exit and what stores are nearby.
This kind of innovation unfortunately does not come cheap; the canes cost about $500 each. However, the it’s still in start-up phase. The Turkish company is working to pair the WeWALK with ride-sharing apps and other transportation options to further increase its value as a navigational tool.
In a time of rapid human ingenuity, an intelligent cane like the WeWALK is the kind of tech with the potential to open doors for people who have often been left behind.