Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Ultracane for the blind

The white stick has been given an upgrade at last. Now blind and partially sighted people have more to go on than just the basic information they get from a white stick.The UltraCane has been in development for a while and Sound Foresight, the company responsible for its creation has made it available to buy. The UltraCane works as an ordinary white cane, but also includes echolocation technology. Using ultrasonic waves, much as bats do, the cane reads the echos of waves as they bounce off objects in its path. This information is then feed back to the buttons on the handle providing details of how far away the object is and where it is. Apparently, the buttons that provide you with the information send the data you feel with your fingers to "a part of the brain that creates mental maps subconsciously". All this means that once your brain has got used to the signals you should be able to pick up quite a speed, confident that nothing is blocking your path. It costs £399 from the Sound Foresight website.

Ultracane - User Interface Design, Human Computer Interaction (HCI), Ergonomics

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