Science & Technology

The ‘smart shoes’ with a warning system for the visually impaired

By Maider Gamero

Vienna, May 16 (EFE).- Austrian researchers have built shoes with sensors embedded in them to alert blind and visually impaired people of obstacles in their path.

Developed by Austria’s Tec-Innovation company in collaboration with the Graz University of Technology, the intelligent shoes “can increase the safety of visually impaired and blind people in their everyday life.”

The warning system includes an ultra-bright LED and two sensors placed at the front of each shoe.

The sensors detect obstacles and notify the wearer through vibration feedback in the shoe or sound warning signals via a smartphone.

The device can warn of potential obstacles located up to four meters ahead, but the user can control the detection range with buttons on the shoe itself or through a mobile application.

“The alerts work like those of cars, the closer you get to the object, the faster the sound or vibrations,” Tec-Innovation CEO Kevin Pajestka tells Efe.

“If the right shoe detects the obstacle, you hear the sound through the right earphone or you feel the vibration in that foot, which means that you can go to the left,” he says.

The system has a smart function that recognizes when the user stops in front of an object and stops sending notifications, for example, when the wearer is standing in a queue or at a bus stop.

The LED light is designed for those with low vision, as it can be turned on when there is an obstacle nearby so that users can see it.

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