You must have seen the standard sensing canes that help in detecting obstacles. Then, there are new experimental white canes that the blind use for getting a sense of their surroundings. It detects the proximity and sends back signals to the hand of the user. Now, a much improved Xplor cane goes one step further by detecting loved ones from the crowd and directing the users towards them.
Birmingham University has been developing this new gadget that uses onboard electronics for a good effect. It has a functioning database of people that the person knows. The facial recognition software is installed in the cane’s system. It then scans the surroundings with the help of the camera. Once a familiar face is successfully cross referenced with the database; the user gets to know about the positive development through vibration. Currently, the system is capable of recognizing faces from almost 10 meters away.
Once the blind person is alerted to the presence of a familiar face, then the Bluetooth device in the ear receives instructions from the XploR stick to navigate towards him. We can also assume that the database will have the name of the person, and the device will also tell the user about him and even his bio-data.
There is no fancy gadgetry involved in the design of this stick so it is hoped that the device, once fully functional, would be able to benefit a lot of people in the near future. The pioneers behind XploR Steve Adigbo, Waheed Rafiq, and Richard Howlett aim to introduce it commercially. Currently, they plan to test it in UK’s Beacon Center for the Blind.
It will surely help Daredevils in pursuing criminals in the streets too!