A revolutionary “smart” cane enabling the visually impaired to instantly identify friends and family could be available soon, thanks to students at Birmingham City Univ.
The “XploR” mobility cane, being developed by ICT students Steve Adigbo, Waheed Rafiq and Richard Howlett, uses smartphone technology to recognize familiar faces from up to 10-m away. The cane also features GPS functionality to aid navigation.
The device has added importance for one of its developers, Steve Adigbo, whose grandfather is blind. Steve said: “My grandfather is blind and I know how useful this device could be for him. The smart cane incorporates facial recognition technology to alert the user when they are approaching a relative or friend. There’s nothing else out there like this at the moment.”
The Birmingham City Univ. team have already presented the XploR cane to medical and science professionals in Luxembourg and France, and plan to visit organizations in Germany later this year.
“Medical and health care companies in France really liked the product. Hopefully it’ll be making a real difference to people’s lives soon,” said Waheed.
The students have designed the XploR cane to detect faces up to 10-m away, vibrating when detecting a recognizable individual from a bank of images stored on an internal SD memory card.
The device will guide users towards friends and family members using an ear piece and audio guidance, with the information being relayed through bluetooth technology.