Haptic Shoe Could Replace the White CaneBy Coxworth, Ben; Gizmag,
Publication Date: October 17, 2011
Article features a navigational device for blind users that is built into a shoe. Developed by a researcher at Hewlett-Packard Labs in Bangalore, India, the system is called Le Chal, which is Hindi for “take me there.” Le Chai, built into one of the user’s shoes, provides haptic feedback, guiding the wearer toward a chosen destination by vibrating in the front, back, or on either side. A vibration on the front indicates going straight forward, while a vibration on the left tells the user to turn left, and so on. Before setting out, the user enters a destination on Google Maps using the Le Chal running on an Android smartphone. The phone then communicates by Bluetooth with a LilyPad Arduino circuit board located in the heel of the shoe. Following the turn by turn directions supplied by Google, along with locational data from its own global positioning system (GPS) unit, the phone commands the circuit board to activate each of the shoe’s vibrators as needed. The vibrations start out low but build in intensity as the user nears points where he or she has to turn. A proximity sensor in the front of the shoe also alerts the wearer to obstacles, which it can detect up to ten feet away. The article reports that the inventor will release the code for the app and the schematics for the shoe via the open-source electronics prototyping platform Arduino and also plans to create a Do It Yourself guide on Wikipedia.
Published by: Gizmag Pty Ltd (Website:http://www.gizmag.com/)
Link to text: http://www.gizmag.com/le-chal-haptic-shoe-for-blind/20186/