The latest in technology for individuals with blindness or low vision is a smart walking cane that expands the possibilities of independent living.
The WeWALK smart cane, designed by engineers from the Young Guru Academy in Turkey, uses ultrasonic sensors to scan for unexpected impediments often missed by regular white walking canes. Above the chest obstacles like low hanging tree branches are one example. When the cane detects an oncoming object, the handle vibrates to alert the user.
WeWALK: The Integrated Cane
Beyond a thorough scan of the vicinity, the WeWalk smart cane also features smartphone integration. Users can pair the cane with the WeWALK app, which, along with built-in speakers and a touchpad control on the cane, allows actions such as getting navigation without needing to have the phone in hand.
Another way the WeWalk cane is a serious upgrade from the traditional walking cane? It comes integrated with Voice Assistant and Google Maps software. This feature enables the cane to inform users of nearby stores and other such details they would not be aware of otherwise.
In an interview with CNN, WeWALK CEO and co-founder Kursat Ceylan, who is also blind, explains the thought behind a technologically advanced cane.
“In these days we are talking about flying cars, but these people [with blindness and low vision] have been using just a plain stick,” he says. “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.”
Future plans for the device include pairing it with ridesharing apps and other transportation services.
Customers can purchase the WeWALK for $500 on the company’s website.