A team of students at the Birmingham City University is developing a smart cane that can help the blind to recognize friends and family on the street, the university has announced.
Dubbed XploR, the smart cane is designed to use facial recognition technology to identify the faces of passersby and match them against images stored internally. When a familiar face is detected, the cane vibrates, and the user is guided towards the identified individual through an earpiece that connects with the cane via Bluetooth. XploR also sports GPS navigation functionality.
Developed by Richard Howlett, Waheed Rafiq, and Steve Adigbo, the new device is of special importance to the latter student, as his grandfather is blind. The team have been working with the Beacon Centre for the Blind in Wolverhampton to try to test out the device with volunteers, and are striving to perfect the technology.
It isn’t exactly a wearable device, but it’s in the ballpark and is certainly a part of the growing Internet of Things, and it points to the very real benefits that these technological areas could potentially offer to those who have disabilities, as well as the elderly as they cope with deteriorating faculties. And as the technology powering such smart devices continues to advance, a number of consumers may soon find assistance and relief from any number of everyday devices.