India is home to 15 mn visually challenged individuals, of the total 37 mn across the globe. In fact, India has the world’s largest blind population. Providing optimal healthcare, education, and employment to the people with visual impairments is a huge challenge for the government. Many Indian companies are joining the cause and developing products to foster independent living and mobility in the visually challenged. We look at 4 Indian innovations that stand out in making life simpler for blind people and can change the way they move around and navigate their world:
Individuals with visual impairments typically rely on white canes to navigate their way. However, the traditional cane has a number of limitations and can only help a blind person detect obstacles on the ground and up to a very small range. Hence, oftentimes blind individuals collide with protruding branches, parked vehicles, etc, which considerably restricts their mobility.
To address this issue, students and fellows at IIT-Delhi decided to give a makeover to the traditional white cane and developed the SmartCane device, which is an electronic travel aid that fits on the top fold of the white cane. The device uses ultrasonic waves to enable users to detect any above-the-knee obstruction from a distance of 3 meters. The device then vibrates to alert the user about any obstruction. It also starts beeping and the beep gets louder when the user gets closer to the obstacle.
The best part is that the device only costs Rs 3,000. It has a rechargeable battery and comes with a charger.