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BAWA Cane: Innovative Tech to Help the Visually Impaired

Since the beginning of the industrial era, new technologies have been rapidly emerging to change our lives for the better. We are witnessing developments in various fields – information, transport, housework, delivery, healthcare, and more. Technology has also greatly improved quality of life for the elderly population and people with disabilities.

Technology that caters to people with disabilities is generally called assistive technology. It includes various assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices, as well as the process used in selecting, locating, and using these devices. One of these devices is a walking cane for the visually impaired called the BAWA Cane.

More than a walking stick

The team founders Daniel and Stella Vong got their inspiration from their late grandmother who had cataract and glaucoma. They wanted to understand the difficulties of the visually impaired and help them, which gave birth to the BAWA Cane.

To call it just a walking stick would be a harsh understatement. Regular walking sticks only detect obstacles below the knee and in close proximity. With the BAWA Cane, it can detect obstacles in a range of up to 1.2 meters (4 feet) and sends signals about them to the user. With such a wide coverage, this device helps avoid higher obstacles like signboards, branches, etc.

To detect these obstacles, BAWA Cane uses dual sensors based on the Internet of Things (IoT) and big data analytics. These allow the cane to detect a range of objects, from things that are as small as a tennis ball to larger objects. As soon as it detects it, it will send a beeping signal.

The device’s battery life lasts up to 48 hours per battery charge. The entire charging time is one hour. It works both indoors and outdoors, regardless of the weather conditions. However, there are no guarantees that it will work normally if used in water or other liquids.

This helpful device also comes with advanced features like voice navigation, prediction, and personalization. For instance, it can geotag larger obstacles for future reference. All you need to do is connect the device wirelessly to a smartphone. 

The BAWA Cane has won multiple awards for its innovation, including the Microsoft Imagine Cup Malaysia on 2015 and 2016, and the TEGAS Pre-Accelerator Bootcamp 2018. The BAWA Cane has so far been deployed to five countries and has been beta tested by 100 people winning multiple awards for its innovation.

YouTube: Introducing BAWA Cane

Photo credits: The feature image has been provided to us as part of a press kit and is owned by Wangi Lai PLT.

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Sead Fadilpasic
Freelance writer / journalist / blogger. Tech enthusiast and gadget freak. Guitarist. Previously Al Jazeera journalist.