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Health Tech: Smarter Cane Helps Visually Impaired

You have probably seen a visually impaired person walking with the aid of a long white cane. What if the cane could also tell you where to go?

People with limited or no vision are challenged when it comes to finding their way around, especially outside their homes and in unfamiliar places. The classic long white cane can help them avoid obstacles, but that’s about all. Meanwhile, we have self-driving cars that can navigate around objects and find their way to a destination. Researchers at Stanford University decided to bring some of that car technology to a cane, resulting in a smarter cane. It includes LIDAR laser sensors to detect obstacles, GPS to find its location, and the same motion-trackers you have in an average smartphone. And there’s a wheel at the tip that can “nudge” you left or right when it’s time to make a turn or maneuver around obstacles. Volunteers testing the device found that they were more confident and could walk 20% faster than with a standard cane.

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Written by Alfred Poor

Alfred Poor is an "Into Tomorrow" Contributing Correspondent, health tech speaker, writer and the founding Editor of Health Tech Insider: a website and industry newsletter that covers wearable and mobile technology for health and medical applications. With more than 2,400 articles published on the site, he has a broad perspective of where the global industry stands today and where it’s headed... Into Tomorrow.

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