Ray Foret jr rforetjr at att.net
Tue Oct 1 19:31:22 UTC 2013

Not to mention which, what if a blind person goes barefooted as much as possible?  Didn't think of that did they?

Sent from my mac, the only computer with full accessibility for the blind built-in!
The Constantly Barefooted Ray
Still a very proud and happy Mac and Iphone user!

On Oct 1, 2013, at 2:21 PM, "Gloria Whipple" <glowhi at centurylink.net> wrote:

> Oh, give me a break!
> I hope it doesn't work out.
> Just my opinion.
> Gloria Whipple
> -----Original Message-----
> From: nfb-talk [mailto:nfb-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Joshua
> Lester
> Sent: Tuesday, October 01, 2013 12:01
> To: nfb-talk at nfbnet.org
> Subject: [nfb-talk] TALKING SHOES FOR THE BLIND
> Good grief!
> What's next?
> Blessings, Joshua
> A haunting black-and-white video screened during the TED Fellows talks<
> http://blog.ted.com/2013/02/25/ted-fellows-give-their-talks-at-ted2013
> depicted people speaking into a device and then walking - at first
> taking halting steps, then more confident strides. As the video
> unfolds, the camera zooms in on the faces of the walkers - revealing
> that they are blind. With his team, TED Senior Fellow Anthony Vipin
> Das, an eye surgeon, has been developing haptic shoes that use
> vibration and GPS technology to guide the blind. This innovation -
> which could radically change the lives of the vision-impaired - has
> drawn the interest of the United States Department of Defense, which
> has recently shortlisted the project for a $2 million research grant.
> Anthony tells us the story behind the shoe.
> Tell us about the haptic shoe.
> The shoe is called Le Chal, which means "take me there" in Hindi. My
> team, Anirudh Sharma and Krispian Lawrence and I, are working on a
> haptic shoe that uses GPS to guide the blind. The most difficult
> problems that the blind usually face when they navigate is orientation
> and direction, as well as obstacle detection. The shoe is in its
> initial phase of testing: We've crafted the technology down to an
> insole that can fit into any shoe and is not limited by the shape of
> the footwear, and it vibrates to guide the user. It's so intuitive that
> if I tap on your right shoulder, you will turn to your right; if I tap
> on your left shoulder, you turn to your left. The shoe basically guides
> the user on the foot on which he's supposed to take a turn. This is for
> direction. The shoe also keeps vibrating if you're not oriented in the
> direction of your initial path, and will stop vibrating when you're
> headed in the right direction. It basically brings the wearer back on
> track as we check orientation at regular intervals. Currently I'm
> conducting the first clinical study at LV Prasad Eye Institute in
> Hyderabad, India. It's very encouraging to see the kind of response
> we've had from wearers. They were so moved because it was probably the
> very first time that they had the sense of independence to move
> confidently - that the shoe was talking to them, telling them where to
> go and what to do.
> How do you tell the shoe where you want to go?
> It uses GPS tracking, and we've put in smart taps: gestures that the
> shoe can learn. You tap twice, and it'll take you home. If you lift
> your heel for five seconds, the shoe might understand, "This is one of
> my favorite locations." And not just that. If a shoe detects a fall, it
> can automatically call an emergency number. Moving forward, we want to
> try to decrease the dependency on the phone and the network to a great
> extent. We hope to crowdsource maps and build up enough data to store
> on the shoe itself.
> The second phase we are working on is obstacle detection. India has got
> such a varied terrain. The shoe can detect immediate obstacles like
> stones, potholes, steps. It's not a replacement for the cane, but it's
> an additive benefit for a visually impaired person to offer a sense of
> direction and orientation.
> Are you still in the development stage?
> The insole is already done. We are currently testing it. I'm using
> simple and complex paths - simple paths like a square, rectangle,
> triangle and a circle, and complex paths include a zigzag or a random
> path. Then we are going to step it up with navigation into a
> neighborhood. From there we'll develop navigation to distant locations,
> including the use of public transportation. It will be a stepwise study
> that we'll finish over the middle of this year, then go in for
> manufacturing the product. You're an eye doctor. How did you get
> involved in this?
> I'm an eye surgeon who loves to step out of my box and try to see
> others who are working in similar areas of technology that are helpful
> for my patients. So Anirudh Sharma and I, we're on the same TR35 list
> of India in 2012. I said, "Dude, I think we can be doing stuff with the
> shoe and my patients. Let's see how we can refine it." There was
> already an initial prototype when he presented last year at EmTech in
> Bangalore. Anirudh teamed up with one of his friends, Krispian Lawrence
> of Ducere Technologies in Hyderabad, who is leading the development and
> logistics to get this into the market. We just formed a really cool
> team, and started working on the shoe, started testing it on our
> patients and refining the model further and further. Finally we've come
> to a stage where my patients are walking and building a bond with the shoe.
> Are these patients comfortable with the shoe?
> Yes, it's totally unobtrusive. And more importantly, we are working on
> developing the first vibration language in the world for the Haptic
> Shoe. We're looking at standardizing the vibration, like Braille, which
> is multilingual. But even more crucial than the technology, the shoe is
> basically talking to the walker. How they can trust the shoe? So that's
> an angle that we are looking at. Because at the end of the day, it's
> the shoe that's guiding you to the destination. We're trying to build
> that bond between the walker and the sole.
> Building a bond with the sole. That's good. I'm going to use that.
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