For those that do not have any visual impairments or don’t know have anyone close to them that has this condition, the simple act of walking down a street is something that we probably take for granted. Being aware that not everyone will have that privilege is something that we should occasionally remind ourselves. There are brands and product designers that are constantly working to develop gadgets and tools that can help those that need assistance living their every day lives.
Designer: AI Guided
GUIDi is a concept for a device that can replace the white cane that a lot of visually impaired individuals use to navigate their way through busy streets. It is a device that the user wears on their waist and includes camera and microprocessor modules, and haptic feedback units that will assist them as they walk. There are two 8-megapixel cameras that are forward-facing and will scan the environment as they are walking. The images captured will be analyzed by AI-based software which will be able to identify things like trees, trash cans, sign posts, and other items that the user may face on the street or sidewalk.
The haptic feedback units will vibrate to alert the user that there may be some obstruction in their direction. It will even be able to detect things like branches, wires, and other overhanging items that a regular cane may miss since it’s basically on the ground. The device can also be connected to an app on their smartphone through Bluetooth connectivity where they can choose a specific location and they will be guided by GUIDi accordingly. The battery life is around 8-10 hours on a single charge.
Design wise, it’s pretty much a no-frills device that you can wear on your waist and should not be that obstructive or uncomfortable. The two haptic feedback units on each side should be enough to give the user signals on possible obstacles but also not give sudden vibrations that might surprise the user. The GUIDi is not yet in production but those who are interested can try joining the free trial that the company is offering.