Smart Cane, BCU’s Exciting New Invention

Profile photo of Yacub Elmi
By
23 December 2015

Birmingham City University students have looked at an exciting new project that is aiming to help blind people. The ‘smart cane’ as its being called is being made by BCU students. The cane is called ‘XploR’

The ‘XploR’ smart/mobility cane utilizes the technology used in smartphones to distinguish familiar faces from up to 10 meters away. It also has a GPS that aids in navigation. This smart cane will empower and help visually impaired individuals in easily identifying their loved ones and friends.

The team from Birmingham City University is composed of Richard Howlett, Steve Adigbo and Waheed Rafiq. One of the main inspirations for this invention was Steve’s blind grandfather. The smart cane will be very useful for blind people especially when they need to be alerted of an approaching friend, relative or family member.

cane
Image Source: Birmingham City University

It will vibrate when it detects a recognizable individual from a database of images stored in an internal SD memory card. The smart cane will also guide users towards loved ones and friends via an earpiece and an audio guide. This procedure will be made possible via the Bluetooth technology where the information will be relayed.

This device is something that has not been created before. Millions of visually impaired individuals will surely be delighted to have the special features of this smart mobility cane. A device that is lightweight and easy to use is a big relief especially in terms of navigation. It will create a big difference in the lives of blind people. Also, this will promote the quality of service that healthcare companies provide to their customers.

Medical and healthcare companies in France really liked the product. Hopefully it’ll be making a real difference to people’s lives soon.”
Waheed Rafiq

The students conducted market research at the Beacon Centre for the Blind in Wolverhampton, West Midlands, to determine key features that the visually impaired would find useful in a mobility cane.

We found that high-spec technology features were essential requirements for users, as well as the cane needing to be fairly lightweight and easy to use,” said Waheed.

We’ll be returning to the Beacon Centre later this year for people to test the product and also to highlight the training and security features of the cane.”

The student project forms part of LILA, a European initiative encouraging entrepreneurship and fostering internationalisation.

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