Laser Walking Stick for the blind is perhaps one science fair away from existence
Another assistive device that Auggie uses is a laser pointer walking stick. This nifty piece of gadgetry is a laser ranging system (like radar but using lasers). Lasering out in a grid pattern, the laser detects objects, obstacles, stairs, curbs, etc., and relays the information to the user with audible tones and tactile information, such a vibrations. The laser ranging system works by sending out a pulse of beams that time how long it takes the pulses to reflect back [Source].
Sounds like quite an amazing little bit of technology doesn’t it? Well, it is…or, at least it would be if it existed. As Christopher Gorham reveals in in this interview with Media Blvd Magazine. That is to say, Auggie’s cool laser walking cane doesn’t exist, but the technology is there.For instance, the Laser Cane (shown left) is one of the first types of walking canes to begin utilizing laser technology. Designed specifically to adress the walking needs of individuals with various neurological conditions, such as: Parkinson’s, ALS, Stroke, PSP, Multiple Sclerosis, Brain Injuries, Balance Disorders, and MSA, the Laser Cane utilizes laser technology to provide a target to step over, helping to overcome freezing episodes. What this means is, the beam creates a visual “obstacle” which forces the individual to life their foor up and over the beam, reducing the individuals tendency to drag, shuffle, or otherwise teeter on their feet.
But this Laser Cane doesn’t provide any assistance for the blind and certainly isn’t anything like the device that Auggie uses, right. So where’s that good stuff? Its existence is perhaps in the very near future with the laser walking cane developed by three Palestinian teenagers from the rufugee city Nablus. Their incredible invention can be seen in the news story below: