At this year’s Microsoft Imagine Cup, Team Titamas from Japan designed a smart cane that is different from the ultrasonic and laser canes that we have seen in the past. The team recognized that it is important that a blind person not only know that there is an object in their path, but also what the object is, where it is, and does it pose a danger to the user.
The Walky uses image recognition to identify the object in real time. It then uses directional voice feedback to communicate that information to the user.
From the Developer
Our product, “Walky” helps blind people by telling “What” and “How far” the object is by voice. Thinking about how can we help blind people to go outside safe was the start of this project. As you probably know, blind people recognize what is around by touching with white cane. However, with the usual white cane, they can only know the objects around their feet. Therefore there is a problem when the object is at the high position. For instance, truck which the body is coming out and so on. In order to solve this problem, there are some research and development of white cane using ultrasonic sensor. However, since the white cane using ultrasonic sensor also reacts to all objects including ground. So, it is impossible to obtain useful information from it. In addition, danger can not be avoided because it can not distinguish whether the object is dangerous or not. In this project, we thought we can create an environment which blind people can feel free to go outside by using our engineering skills. Walky uses image recognition to detect what and where the objects are in real time and inform these information by voice using directional speaker.