With more than 250 million visually impaired people around the world according to the World Health Organization, it’s high time technology started to work to their advantage. Thankfully, a blind engineer has created a smart cane complete with Google Maps to do just that.
- It’s called WeWalk. Kursat Ceylan, an inventor from the Young Guru Academy, created the smart cane to help those who use traditional white canes to navigate the world do so more efficiently. Using Google Maps, people with impaired vision can steer through streets and sidewalks much easier than ever before.
- The technology is really cool. In addition to using Google Maps, the cane has an in-built sensor that detects any object above chest level and alerts the user with a vibrating handle. This ensures they can get around much more safely. Not only that, but WeWalk is Bluetooth enabled, meaning you can hook your smartphone up to it and operate the device via a button on the cane. Pretty cool, huh?
- It can be upgraded as new technology is available. Another great thing about WeWalk is that as new features become available, they can be upgraded into the stick with little fuss. Soon, they hope to make WeWalk work with apps like Uber, Lyft, and Amazon’s AI, Alexa.
- Ceylan is a genius and a hero. As he explained to CNN, “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.” He added: “In these days we are talking about flying cars. but [blind] people have been using just a plain stick.”
- The WeWalk is worth the money. The device is available via the WeWork website for $500 which, while seemingly expensive, is a small price to pay for the massive help it will give those with visual impairments in the future.