and ; Delhi
'Smart cane', developed by the Indian Institute of Technology (I.I.T.) in consultation with the National Association for the Blind, is a boon for the country's nine million visually impaired people. Besides easy commutation, it will also enable safe exit during an emergency.
While the traditional white cane can only navigate up to knee level within a range of one metre, the new cane can do much more. "It can navigate much above the knee level, gauge the obstacle from over a three-metre distance and send radio frequency to a passing public bus to detect the route number," said Rohan Paul, the Department of Computer Science student who developed the cane along with three other colleagues, Dheeraj Mehra, Viabhab Singh, and Ankush Garg.
The Rupees 50,000-project has a user-triggered wireless identification system, vibration warning signal manager and a battery-driven speaker that can identify and speak the route number of a bus.
The gadget has two parts -- vibration technology to detect obstacles and ultrasonic ranger to help commuting in city buses. "While the first part is ready, we are improving on the second part. But to make it possible, a small electronic box will need to be placed at the entrance of a bus, which will respond to the radio frequency sent by the device attached to the cane," said Singh. A mono-earplug would be provided to the user to hear the number of a bus and get proper directions to reach its entrance and exit.
The students will seek patent for the product and test run it on the streets of Delhi. "It may take one year to make it ready for the market," said Paul.