Category: Sensors

Virtual Cane

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-- PROTOTYPE --------- PURPOSE: To create a prototype of a handheld device that uses sonar-type technology to create a virtual white cane that allows users who are blind or with low vision navigate within their environment. The Virtual Cane is a handheld device that uses a type of sonar to recognize physical objects up to 10 meters (39 feet) from the user. When pointed at an object, it emits invisible focused sound waves and determines how far away the object is. The information is then relayed to the user via a series of vibrations which vary in intensity depending on the distance. The device is designed to enable an individual who is blind or has low vision to assess the arrangement of surrounding physical objects (such as their size or height) by constantly scanning the environment using sonar similar to the natural sonar of a bat or a dolphin. There is potential for this device to integrate a facial recognition function to distinguish between smiling and sad faces. It may also be used to further research on reorganization of the brain in the blind. The Virtual Cane is easy to learn, lightweight, and features a battery life of up to 12 hours. Currently this device is presented as a prototype but has retail potential through Hebrew University’s research and development company, Yissum. A patent has been filed and Yissum is looking for business partners to further commercial development. It is estimated that the device would eventually cost approximately $100. AUTHOR: Pawel Piejko. TITLE: Virtual Cane - using sonar to help the visually impaired 'see'. WEBSITE: Gizmag. REF:


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Virtual Cane