[nfbmi-talk] New Technology for the Blind: Smart Shoes
Terry D. Eagle
terrydeagle at yahoo.com
Fri Mar 21 16:24:24 UTC 2014
Now in addition to being a smarty pants, you can be smarty shoes! From
smart phones to smart shoes. Getting a leg up on walking and calorie
I wonder if the shoe speaks "recalculating" when the wearer ignores or over
steps the point to turn?
And how about that charity for the blind.
I've never paid anything close to $100 for a pair of shoes! Why start now?
I wonder if they will teach me to line dance?
Article from the New York Daily News Lifestyle section
These shoes are all you need to get from point A to point B.
New "smart" shoes will get you where you're going without ever
having to check your phone's GPS or look at a map. an app, the high-tech
kicks - also available as a simple shoe insert - will map the fastest route
and even count calories and steps while you're on the move.
"You set a destination, put your phone back into your pocket and just start
walking," said Krispian Lawrence, co-founder of Lechal <http://lechal.com/>
, which means "take me there" in Hindi.
Sensors built into the insert and shoes vibrate to tell you
where to turn. "It's very intuitive," Lawrence said. "The vibrations are
light - like a tap on your shoulder. If someone taps you on your left
shoulder, you instinctively turn left." The vibrations become longer as the
turn gets closer.
The Lechal inserts cost $100 and fit into any shoe. By syncing to the GPS on
your smartphone, they buzz to tell you what direction to turn. "Think of
having to walk, looking at your phone for directions or trying to listen to
audio feedback in a noisy environment," said Lawrence, who lives in India
but studied in Michigan and worked in Silicon Valley for six years.
"Here, you just set your destination and walk like you belong
there - in a new place or old place." The technology is also great for
athletes - it's easy to monitor calories being burned and distance traveled,
and plan a route based on how long you want to exercise.
Lawrence and partner Anirudh Sharma launched Lechal for the
visually impaired, but realize the product will be beneficial to anyone.
But the pair's company - Ducere Technology - is still focused on charity.
For every pair someone who is not visually impaired buys, they'll donate a
pair to someone who is.
The first order of Lechal shoe inserts ($100 per pair) is ready
to be shipped, Lawrence said. They'll announce preorder for the shoes soon.
Those are also expected to be priced around $100.
The first model is a sleek, waterproof, fitted shoe with a tiny
battery that slips into the heel, but multiple styles are in the works.
"We'll do a formal pair, a sports pair and something in between,
and different colors," Lawrence said.
Lechal works with iOS, Android and Windows devices.
rmurray at nydailynews.com
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