Two teens from Montreal have developed VisAbility, a cane and cap that helps visually impaired people have a better sense of their surroundings and detect approaching objects.
Rosemount High School students, Yash Varde and Helena Goossens, developed a cane and hat for visually impaired travelers.
“We saw a blind person struggling to find the exit in the Metro,” said Varde. “They were using their cane to detect the walls and where the door can be.”
Both 15-year-olds say the experience compelled them to try and create something to help visually impaired people have a better sense of their surroundings. While it started out as a science project, it quickly turned into something bigger with help from Google.
The original idea was a cap that detected distance, but at the Montreal Science Fair. They met an organization called Young Leaders, who connected them with Google.
“It was amazing to actually be with like a world company like Google,” said Varde.
With help from Google’s technology called Cloud Vision, their idea expanded. Now, the teens’ project — called VisAbility, consists of a cane and a hat that can detect a user’s surroundings and distance from approaching objects, telling you what they are. Using a phone application and a click of a button, users can learn exactly what’s in front of them.
The teens say they want to continue developing their products, hoping to soon find investors that will help them grow. Right now, the VisAbility is just a prototype. The goal is to have a completely finished product up and running within a few years.