WeWalk, a Turkish startup, has developed a smart cane that has the potential to be truly life-changing for the blind all around the world.
As the World Health Organization reports, there are over 250 million people globally who are visually impaired or blind. Of those, about 50 million use a cane to assist in their daily routines. Historically, canes for the blind have been primarily used to ‘feel out’ obstacles in the sidewalks and streets or to locate walls and other obstructions.
The WeWalk device attaches directly to the traditional white cane, transforming it into an innovative smart cane. The technology increases visually impaired people’s independence and promotes full participation in society. It comes fully equipped with a voice assistant, gyroscope, accelerometer and compass, with more features being added with each update.
Some of WeWalk’s best features include:
- Ultrasonic detection of obstacles above chest height (such as low hanging tree branches) that warns the user with vibration.
- Bluetooth pairing with mobile devices that enables integration with navigation apps such as Google Maps (again with voice assistant features)
- A touchpad built into the handle of the cane, which allows the user to operate the Bluetooth connected smartphone.
- Integration with popular rideshare services such as Uber.
The company is also promoting their “Let’s WeWALK Together” initiative, to allow anybody to contribute to a better quality of life for the visually impaired. A person can buy a WeWALK for themselves, or can donate a WeWALK for changing the life of the visually impaired community.