WeWALK: finally a smart-cane for blind people with Uber and Google Maps integration
Turkey-based WeWALK targets the 500 million blind or visually impaired people among which, according to the World Health Organization, the majority is above 50 years. With the rising prevalence of the condition worldwide, there is growth in the assistive technology for visually impaired.
Visual disabilities raise several challenges resulting in accidents in day to day life, leading to an underprivileged lifestyle which is finally being acknowledged and improved through technology and design.
Turkey’s Young Guru Academy is working towards the cause alongside its strategic partner Vetsel, a European electronics company. The joint efforts result in WeWALK, a smart cane for the visually impaired.
It comprises of a traditionally-looking cane, completed by a handle. The innovative device features dual sensors which vibrate to alert the user of upcoming danger at ground & chest level. The battery can be charged via a USB and it functions up to five hours.
With the support of technology and a user-centred design, the urban environment suddenly becomes a little more friendly and accessible.
WeWALK is mobile-integrated: connecting to apps via Bluetooth, it enables control with a touchpad or voice command, with no need to hold the phone in one’s hand.
The integration of apps like Uber and Lyft means access to easy urban mobility, while Google Maps provides an accurate navigation system when walking. WeWALK also features an LED light to assist partially sighted people.
The WeWALK team ran the first successful crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo aiming at global expansion, offering one unit at a discounted rate of $349, while the retail price is expected to be $499.
Due to the rising interest in the segment WeWALK faces direct competition with other products such as the MIT awarded Smart Cane Device, the Malaysian engineered BAWA cane and the GPS integrated SmartCane.