In this week’s edition of discovered technologies, we present you with footwear for people who are blind or visually impaired.
An innovative development company in India called Ducere Technologies has developed a product called Lechal. Lechal (ley-chull) means “take me there” in Hindi, and was developed by the company’s owners, Krispian Lawrence and Anirudh Sharma, students of MIT and the Univesity of Michigan-Ann Arbor.
Lechal are two products, namely a shoe and it’s more accessible version, an insole, which use vibrations, also known as haptic feedback, to guide their users to destinations set in their smartphone’s complimentary Lechal application. As people who are visually impaired or blind need to rely on their smartphone’s audio for every turn, Lechal proposes a better solution by having those instructions sent directly to the person’s feet. This allows the person walking to have his/her hands free to carry objects and/or use their walking cane.
The footwear doesn’t only serve as a guiding device. It also has features like a calories-burnt counter and may record a travelled route by means of it’s GPS system.
The shoe or insole is powered by a rechargable battery that is attached to the shoe or insole’s rear base. The developers claim that the battery’s charger allows the user to tell if the battery is charged through an audio response upon the user’s auditive demand; like clapping, for instance. The charger also allows the user to recharge their smartphone.
The advertisement video below shows how a sighted man and a sighted woman run and ride a bicycle during the day separately whilst using Lechal and thinking about eachother. The woman sets a location with Lechal to tell the man where to meet her for a romantic dinner that night. That evening, the man drives his motorcycle and finds her rendez-vous point thanks to Lechal. This ad points to the fact that Lechal can also be used conveniently by people with vision; an attribute that people who are blind and visually impaired seek in products they use.