Canes have provided blind people and the partially sighted with a means to negotiate the world. A researcher at Massachusetts Institute of Technology wants to replace the cane with a new device.
– The device will consist of a camera on a lanyard worn around the neck and a belt. The camera contains an inbuilt computer.
– The camera takes a three-dimensional image of the area in front of the wearer that the computer processes to extract relevant information that is passed to the wearer via the belt.
– The belt contains five vibrating motors that warn the wearer about impending obstacles in their path. The amplitude of vibration increases as the approach the obstacle.
The new system can, however, do more than just help someone walk around without collisions, for the belt incorporates a touchpad that is inscribed with instructions in Braille. This permits the user to program it to perform specific tasks.
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