Trying to make the world a better place, Tec-Innovation, a start-up medical device manufacturer based in Austria, came up with shoes to help the visually impaired and the blind. The smart shoe, InnoMake, has a built-in battery, ultrasonic sensors, a processing unit, and a wireless connection to the smartphone, all of which are mounted in a water and dust resistant casing at the front of the shoes so it is safe in whatever weather.
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Tec-Innovation partnered with Graz University of Technology to develop advanced algorithms that can analyze the information provided by the sensors and cameras whether the vicinity is safe and free from any obstacles. Its intelligent function automatically activates the sensor when walking and pauses when the wearer stopped walking or is sitting.
Tech for good shoes to improve the quality of life for blind people
InnoMake is made of high-quality leather material which can be easily fixed when worn or torn. These smart shoes come with no heels and are comfortable to wear, available for adults and children. The shoes come with metal tracks where the electronic device could be attached. Highly qualified orthopedic shoemakers install the tracks that give the wearer the option to attach and detach the electronic device so they can use different shoes at any time. Depending on the usage, the InnoMake’s battery could last up to one week and could be recharged within three hours using a USB-C cable.
The shoes detect obstacles, like steps, bins, or incoming people, and give warnings through pre-selected feedback. The first option is through haptic or vibration feedback. The vibration would be provided directly on the shoe so the wearer would feel if there are any obstacles in front of the wearer. The second option is acoustic feedback, which is received through a Bluetooth-linked smartphone or bone conduction headphones so as not to cancel environmental noise. Last, but certainly not the least, is through visual feedback where the impulses are passed on through LED lights on the shoe. This could also help in providing additional light in the dark.
InnoMake app for iPhones
InnoMake has an accompanying app available for iOS. Here, you can monitor the device’s battery status and use the shoe search function. The detection range, somewhere in between 0.5 to 4 meters, can be controlled and adjusted either with the button at the back of the device or through the app.
Looking ahead, Tec-Innovation aims to provide a navigation aid for the visually impaired based on the data that they’ve been collecting via its system. They are also working on having an advanced version of InnoMake and use AI to specifically detect the nature and type of obstacle in the wearer’s way. This is definitely a huge upgrade as a support and assistance for the visually blind from their usual walking sticks.
YouTube: The InnoMake by Tec-Innovation, an innovative tool for people with disabilities and their daily life
Photo credit: All image shown are owned by Tec-Innovation and was provided as part of a press kit.