Video: Haptic-feedback shoes guide blind walkers

Aaron Freeman:

It is of course easy and fun to bemoan the endlessly negative impact of tech on our lives. We do this of course mostly in Tweets and G+ posts. But this moving vid points out just one of the things we are really doing right. And best of all it’s only the beginning!

Originally posted on TED Blog:

The footage in this video — which shows a man, a woman and a teenager walking down paths, around curves, up stairs and across streets — may not at first viewing seem remarkable. But the people in this video are blind — and walking without a cane or guide dog. Instead, they are being guided by their shoes.

These shoes, which TED Senior Fellow Anthony Vipin Das introduced us to at TED2013, use haptic feedback and GPS technology to guide the blind. Each pair contains electronic circuitry, sensors and small actuators that give the wearer feedback on their movement as they walk, vibrating to tell them when to turn or lift their feet. (See Katherine Kuchenbecker’s great TED-Ed lesson to the field of haptic technology, which debuted on TED.com just last week.) They use a voice-programmed app that reads local GPS maps and plan routes. They have sensors…

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