‘Intelligent’ white cane developed for the visually impaired
An 'intelligent' add-on to the traditional white cane has been developed that could help visually impaired people become more independent.
Dubbed Télétact, the novel device uses infrared detection and vibration feedback to identify hazards and obstacles, to help users move through the urban landscape.
Télétact consists of a small box that can be attached easily to a standard white cane. The box emits a harmless infrared beam that is projected horizontally along the ground up to 70cm ahead of the user. The beam is also projected upwards at an angle of 45°. When the infrared beam strikes an object, the Télétact box inducts a vibration in the cane, which increases or decreases according to the proximity of the object.
The prototypes of the various component parts of Télétact were initially completed internally by developer IN3G using a 3D printing process. However, when it came to validating and testing the mechanical parts and preparing the tools for injection moulding, IN3G turned to Shropshire based firm Proto Labs, which offered the company its Protomold injection moulding service.
After two rounds of creating prototypes, Proto Labs produced ten moulds and delivered one hundred Télétact cases. The company recently awarded IN3G a Cool Idea! Award to help it develop Télétact further.
Larry Lukis, founder and cto of Proto Labs commented: "We were convinced by the potential and simplicity of the Télétact product and its unquestionable usefulness for the visually impaired. IN3G could help millions of people to move around more easily and with greater independence. It is a great joy for us to offer our Protomold injection moulding service and present IN3G with a Cool Idea! Award."
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