Intelligent walking cane maker gets backing from Big Tech

One UK startup wants to render the conventional white walking stick (pic) obsolete with its smart walking cane that can detect above-ground obstacles, allow for voice control and even provide turn-by-turn GPS navigation, taxi-booking and public transit directions in dozens of cities. — City photo created by prostooleh -

Jean Marc Feghali has Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis, a disease that reduces his peripheral vision and renders him effectively blind at night. But the intelligent walking cane he’s helping to develop has been life-changing, he says. It’s also won support from Microsoft Corp.

“We’ve come to a world where we talk about autonomous vehicles and yet we’re still sending visually impaired people out with what is essentially a stick,” Feghali said. “It doesn’t take you anywhere. It doesn’t take you to a coffee shop. It doesn’t help you seek employment. It’s just a stick.”

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