An electronic walking stick invented by a blind engineer is revolutionising the way that blind people can navigate the world. The WeWalk smart cane uses ultrasonic sensors to warn the user of nearby hindrances through vibrations in the handle, protecting users from low-hanging objects and obstacles above chest level.
The cane can also be paired with a smartphone’s Bluetooth system for easy control and integration with Voice Assistant and Google Maps software means it can use built-in speakers to inform the user of nearby stores and infrastructural details that they may not be able to see.
The company behind the smart can is called WeWalk and its CEO and co-founder is Kursat Ceylan, who is also blind. Both WeWalk and Mr Ceylan are based in Turkey but the company is offering international shipping and is planning to build a network of local distributors to make it easier for the visually impaired around the world to get their hands on the revolutionary new technology. Mr Ceylan told CNN that he helped to develop the cane out of a desire to use modern technology as a tool for the visually impaired. He commented:
“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 … [or] which stores are around me. That kind of information can be provided with the WeWalk.”
The WeWalk cane is currently being sold for $500. As the Turkish tech start-up gains more traction, the developers hope to eventually pair it with ridesharing apps and transportation services to further improve its navigational abilities.