Samsung Smartphone Case Gives Blind People Bat Powers
Samsung have just released an Ultrasonic Cover that works as a virtual white cane for smartphone users who happen to be blind or visually impaired, so users can detect obstacles and navigate unfamiliar places.
Did you know that canes have been used as mobility tools for centuries, but it was only after World War I that the white cane was introduced? And that there are no less than 5 varieties of white cane? They can be used as a mobility tool to detect objects in the users pathway, as a way to provide physical stability, and/or as an way to alert others to the bearer's visual impairment. And they can be collapsible, or straight, long or short.
Guide dogs on the other hand, can be used as another major mobility tool, but due to their cost and potential allergies, the white cane is a lot more popular, obviously.
So how does the Ultrasonic Cover work?
Basically it sends out obstruction-sensing soundwaves outwards, like a bat, and uses the reflection of the sound to identify objects within 2 meters of the handset. After detecting an object, the cover will vibrate and/or give spoken alerts to inform the user they are getting close.
It seems like the Ultrasonic Cover will be able to replace a white cane that is only used as a mobility tool, but it's not going to be able to provide physical stability or act as a way to alert others to the bearer's visual impairment.
Blind people are numbered at 285 million around the world, 82% of them aged 50 and over, and 90% of those in developing countries so it's no surprise Samsung have built this Ultrasonic Cover for their low-end Galaxy Core Advance, but they say it will soon be available for more devices in the future.