As technology moves forward, most of the time, its accessibility doesn’t get as much attention as it should. However, that argument is getting weaker and weaker over time thanks to all the positive developments in the world. And one such innovation comes from an Austrian company that has designed a smart shoe called InnoMake which assists blind and visually impaired people in avoiding various obstacles.
InnoMake Intelligent Shoe Overview:
The shoe was designed by the Austrian company Tec-Innovation, which is backed by Graz University of Technology (TU Graz). It has a waterproof ultrasonic sensor attached to the tip of each foot, which sends a signal when an obstacle is nearby through vibrations and noises.
Furthermore, the closer the barriers are, the faster the vibration gets. For even better results, they have added a camera module and a processor that will run the company’s own algorithm to detect obstacles. Plus, there’s an LED light as well that can flash whenever a hurdle is detected.
“Not only is the warning that I am facing an obstacle relevant, but also the information about what kind of obstacle I am facing, because it makes a big difference whether it’s a wall, a car, or a staircase,” says Markus Raffer, founder of Tec-Innovation who himself is visually impaired.
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In terms of specifications, the ultrasonic sensor in the toe senses obstacles as far apart as four meters. It uses two pieces of information to detect obstacles: the nature of the obstacles and their directional path. Furthermore, it senses best when facing downward on the holes or stairs. With the button on the back, you can make real-time changes to the shoes. By pressing the button, you can check the battery charge level and toggle the LED for better visibility.
With foot activity, it can scan your surroundings to gather information too. You can also activate the intelligent mode, which automatically pauses the device; for example, when you’re sitting. The battery gets to full in three hours after charging via the Micro-USB port.
Moving on, the InnoMake App is free to download on iOS platforms. While the vibrational feedback happens in the shoe itself, the app’s core purpose is auditory feedback. This reaches end-users through the smartphone or bone conduction headphones connected to the smartphone. With all this, a blind person could actually detect if the obstacle feedback is coming from the left or right shoe.
InnoMake Smart Shoes Price and Availability
The InnoMake smart shoe costs £2,700. For the price, you get one device per shoe, one pair of shoes (or installation on an existing pair of shoes), and a USB charger. However, at the moment, the InnoMake smart shoe is only available in Austria and Germany.
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