Mark Tardif markspark at roadrunner.com
Tue Oct 1 22:10:54 UTC 2013

Another good point.  And that's right, you're the constantly barefooted one, 
LOL.  And, I would imagine, in a country like India, blind people are 
probably much worse off than we are here in the good old United States of 
America, and many probably afford good shoes and do walk barefoot.

Mark Tardif
Nuclear arms will not hold you.
-----Original Message----- 
From: Ray Foret jr
Sent: Tuesday, October 01, 2013 3:31 PM
To: NFB Talk Mailing List
Subject: Re: [nfb-talk] TALKING SHOES FOR THE BLIND

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 
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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