Tactile Wand For The Visually Impaired

Tactile Wand (Images courtesy Jin Woo Han)
By Andrew Liszewski

While this might look like a concept design for the next version of the Nintendo Wiimote, it’s actually a ‘smart’ wand designed to replace the traditional long stick used by the visually impaired. Created by Jin Woo Han it uses a sensor on the front to detect nearby objects and provides feedback about how far away they are with varying levels of vibration.

And even though it’s not illustrated too well in the photos, the wand includes a tactile strip where you place your thumb that will actually indicate the position of objects around you. Both of these methods of feedback are considered much better than using audio cues which can be easily missed if the user happens to be walking where there’s too much background noise. Unfortunately the Tactile Wand is just a concept right now, and given the time needed to perfect the design and the thorough testing that will be required, we probably won’t see it hitting the market anytime soon.

[ Tactile Wand ] VIA [ Tuvie ]

3 thoughts on “Tactile Wand For The Visually Impaired”

  1. Wouldn’t it be better to use something else beside sound? Vibration for instance. It just seems to me that vibration (varying levels of which) would be something that is much easier to pick up on. It might be a little harder to judge the accuracy of it, but with a little practice, it could work pretty well for the visually impared.

  2. Someguy:
    Did you read the story? It does use vibration.

    There are a number of vibrotactile feedback devices for the blind on the market, as well as a variety of audio-based feedback devices. This device is nothing new. Such devices have been on the market for many years. Many blind people prefer the traditional cane in any event.

  3. Though there are many other gadgets available in the market, even this seems quiet an impressive one. Just an offbeat thought that since it is a small gadget people may not recognise the blind person on the street.

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