Advancements in technology have made life easier not only for the common people, but also for the physically-challenged people. Bengaluru based graduate, Anirudh Sharma, has invented an intelligent shoe that leads the visually impaired people to their destinations at ease. In fact, he had made a few visually-impaired people to use his conceptual shoe that relies on smartphone for navigation, and has received positive feedback as well. Apart from inventing the right ways to use technologies, making this product at an affordable cost is quite a challenging task for Anirudh and his team. Fortunately, they could make this product with readily available materials. When launched, this product could cheer up thousands of differently-enabled persons around the world.
How it works
Rightly titled as ‘Le chal’, Anirudh Sharma’s invention encloses an embedded hardware somewhere near the shoe’s sole area. To be precise, this hardware part entitles an Arduino circuit boards and vibrating actuators. One may wonder that how does an embedded hardware that simply sits in the shoe can help visually-impaired people to navigate; but, the laudable technique lies there. This embedded hardware is designed to synchronize with a smartphone via Bluetooth technology. Literally, anybody can carry a smartphone easily in their pockets or bags.
A smartphone alone cannot help visually impaired people to navigate. The invention of Global Positioning System takes a major role in this product. As like other applications, a customized app is developed for this smartphone that can take instructions from the user about his/her origin and destination information. Coupling smartphone with the shoe’s embedded system is just a way to pass information that could be identified by the digital system only. In order to convey instructions to the user, a signal that could be perceived by human beings should be incorporated in the product.
Inclusion of vibration actuators helps to convert the digital information from the GPS enabled smartphone into a human-perceivable form. Obviously, these actuators use vibrations to lead the users to their correct destinations. Once the user gives information about his origin and destination points through voice signals, the customized application perceives it and gets related information through GPS. By means of Bluetooth, it activates the actuators that indeed inform the users on how to reach their destinations. To add more, the vibration actuators are brilliantly designed to alert the users about the impending turns in advance by means of varying the magnitude of vibrations. When a user has to take left, the actuators on the left side of the shoe will start vibrating with less amplitude, and it gradually increases as the user approaches the turning point.
About the designer
Anirudh Sharma is a self-learned designer, carpenter and a photographer as well. Working on electronics and related stuff started just as a hobby, but then became his passion. Anirudh loves to create new ideas and impart them successfully in the practical world. To mention, Anirudh and his company has been honored with Indian Innovator of the year award. The creator has revealed that making designs and creating ideas always motivate him to make this world a better place to live. Anirudh has also presented a talk about his design in the renowned TEDx event in February, 2012.