Seeing-Eye Shoes Pair Computer Vision With Haptic Feedback

Over the years, we have seen many projects that use ultrasound or in-flight sensors as methods of detecting objects for the visually impaired. Ultrasonic sensors detect objects such as sonar – they send sound pulses and measure the time it takes for the signal to bounce off the object and return. In-flight sensors do essentially the same thing, but with infrared light. In both cases, the notices often come as tactile feedback to the wrist or head or any limb to which the ultrasound module is attached. We often wonder why there are no commercial shoes that do this, however it turns out that there are and they are about to become even better.

The look of the shoe – the safe place to walk is limited by color. Image via You Graz

Today, Tec-Innovation manufactures shoes with ultrasonic toe sensors that can detect objects up to four meters away. The user is notified of obstacles via haptic feedback in the shoes, as well as an audible notification on the phone via Bluetooth. The company has teamed up with the Technical University of Graz in Austria to give the shoes a robot vision that provides even better detail.

Ultrasound is very helpful, but it cannot detect the topography of the obstacle and distinguish a hole in a rock from a wall. But if you have a two-legged camera, you can use the data to identify the types of obstacles and notify the user accordingly. These new models will still have ultrasonic sensors for initial detection of objects and will use cameras for analysis.

Each time they go out, all the sensors will be connected through the app, which paves the way for obstacle maps from different cities. The shoes will also be quite expensive. Can you do the same for less? Think of the thrown glove!

Sometimes we could all use some navigation help. Don’t want to look like a tourist? Take the turn-by-turn directions in the corner of your eye.

Thank you for the tip, [Qes]!!