“As blind as a bat”, or so the saying goes, but then again bats do not rely on their eyes to get around, but rather, would prefer to settle for the wonders of echolocation. Well, this unique form of sonar has also proven to be the inspiration for scientists and researchers alike to come up with a system that allows the blind to navigate around their environment. A bunch of students at Wake Forest University have come up with this particular wrist-worn device that would mimic the bats’ echolocation sense, although it is far from the precise wonders that nature has.
This sonar watch, if one may call it that, will feature a couple of sonar sensors which emit high frequency sound, and are able to measure the distance to objects depending on the returning echo. This has been reinterpreted into vibration which the wearer will be able to feel, where any changes made in the in frequency would depend on just how close the object in front happens to be.
In a test, a blind student who receives assistance from a guide dog to move about tested out the device, successfully recognizing the presence of closed doors in her way. Of course, much work still needs to be done, since it would be nice to have such a sonar watch run on battery in the long run.
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