Visually Challenged Helped by Smart Shoe Built with GPS Tracking Technology28 Jun 2012
Shoes equipped with GPS tracking technology have been used to help monitor Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, and notify caretakers if their loved one ventured beyond a pre-determined area. They’ve also been recently used for parents to keep track of an autistic son or daughter that has a habit of wandering off. Now, it seems, there is a new use for shoes armed with GPS tracking: to help the visually challenged.
Four communication and electronic India-based Srinivas Institute of Technology (SIT) students have developed a novel type of footwear that is beneficial for people who are sight-impaired.
Under the guidance of Satish Kumar, department of electrons and communication’s assistant professor at SIT, Razik P, Sanjay P Nambiar, Sooraj PV and Shravan, have designed a GPS tracking like shoe equipped with global positioning system (GPS) and sensors.
A visually-challenged individual wearing the smart shoe — as it is dubbed — will be alerted if an obstacle like a telephone pole, tree, or wall comes into their path. When an obstacle is near, the shoe starts to vibrate enabling the sight-impaired person to change direction.
In addition to helping the visually-impaired person avoid obstacles, the smart shoes will guide a person to his designation, thanks to the built-in GPS technology. Along with the shoes, the individual will wear a wristband, which has a keypad embedded in it, along with a wire attached to the shoes to the wristband.
“The wristband is designed exclusively for the visually challenged. It has nine buttons on it. It is programmed in such a way that it will guide the user through a voice navigator to nine different places of his choice. For instance if a person wants to walk from his house to market, he needs to press one button and it will orally guide him to the destination,” said Kumar.
The shoes maintain power through the use of rechargeable 9 volt batteries.
Under Indian Institute of Science and Technology, the Karnataka State Council for Science and Technology sponsored the development of the shoes.
The cost of one smart shoe will be 15,000 Ruppes (Rs), which converts to $262.78 U.S. dollars.