Directional shoes for the blind
Sometimes, it is amazing to see how technology is used to make the world a better place to live for the less fortunate. One such problem has been thought out and tackled by Anirudh Sharma aka touchaddict on IRC. His invention is called ‘Le-chal’ which translates to ‘Take me there’ in Hindi.
Sharma conceptualized and demonstrated the system at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Media Lab Design and Innovation Workshop 2011.
The Le Chal system comprises of a pair of shoes, one of which is fitted with Vibrators, proximity sensors and a Bluetooth pad which is connected to an Android phone that calculates directions and real time location using Google Maps and the phone’s built-in GPS and compass module.
For all the people calling Arduino a ‘toy’ and ‘too simple’ here is a fact: it’s simplicity gave the inventors the power to rapidly prototype, and the invention was ready in 6 days.
As per his presentation, the system costs barely a few hundred rupees to assemble with 8 mini vibrational motors costing Rs 90, a sole of specified dimensions, an Arduino Lilypad GSM+GPS shield custom made for Rs 400 or a wired version costing Rs 150 for all the components.
The shoes have also been tested at a blind school in Bangalore, India, and have received positive reviews.