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Video: Haptic-feedback shoes guide blind walkers

Video: Haptic-feedback shoes guide blind walkers

Posted by: Kate Torgovnick

April 1, 2013 at 5:51 pm EDT

The footage in this video — which shows a man, a woman and a teenager walking down paths, around curves, up stairs and across streets — may not at first viewing seem remarkable. But the people in this video are blind — and walking without a cane or guide dog. Instead, they are being guided by their shoes. These shoes, which TED Senior Fellow Anthony Vipin Das introduced us to at TED2013, use haptic feedback and GPS technology to guide the blind. Each pair contains electronic circuitry, sensors and small actuators that give the wearer feedback on their movement as they walk, vibrating to tell them when to turn or lift their feet. (See Katherine Kuchenbecker’s great TED-Ed lesson to the field of haptic technology, which debuted on TED.com just last week.) They use a voice-programmed app that reads local GPS maps and plan routes. They have sensors that note obstacles and tell the wearer to stop. The shoes can also read gestures from the walker — for example, two taps means “take me home.” These shoes are called Le Chal, which means “take me there” in Hindi. And as Vipin Das shared in this Q&A with the TED Blog, they are being tested in their first clinical study at LV Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad, India. Expected to be available this year, the shoes can be pre-ordered at Ducere Technology’s website. “It’s very encouraging to see the kind of response we’ve had from wearers,” Vipin Das tells the TED Blog. “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.”

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About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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