This connected white cane is a smart solution for the visually impaired

GoSense presents Rango, a module that turns a regular white cane into a connected and intelligent device. — AFP Relaxnews

A small connected accessory that fits onto a regular white cane can help blind and visually impaired people move around more safely. This accessory detects all nearby obstacles, including those at height, which generally go undetected with a standard white cane.

The Lyon, France-based startup GoSense specialises in new technologies for disabled users. Its flagship product is Rango, a connected module that gives smart powers to regular white canes. When attached to a cane, Rango can alert users to all nearby obstacles, and not just those on the ground.

Rango is billed as a kind of virtual and intelligent protective shield. It works with ultrasonic sensors that can detect obstacles within a 2.5-meter radius. This is perfect for obstacles at mid-height, for example, that a standard white cane would be unable to signal.

As soon as an obstacle is detected, a 3D sound alert is sent to the user’s headphones, indicating where the obstacle is in relation to them. Note that Rango doesn’t signal all obstacles in the user’s vicinity, just those that the user is likely to collide with, which are usually the closest.

In addition, Rango can help users pinpoint their location at any time, and even give upcoming times for nearby public transport. The device communicates via Bluetooth with any smartphone running the Rango application. Waterproof and shockproof, Rango has a battery life of about 3.5 hours and starts via a small touchpad. The system is currently marketed at €2,000 (approximately RM9,806).

GoSense has also developed an extremely useful free application called Wizigo. This community-based GPS allows visually impaired users to find their way around town using spatialised sound. Users can therefore get wherever they need to go simply by letting the app guide them. – AFP Relaxnews

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