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Jan 28, 2013 at 12:48pm IST

Delhi: School students build device to help visually impaired people walk independently

New Delhi: After months of brainstorming, students of a private school in Delhi have come up with a device for the visually impaired. It is fitted with a sound alarm, voice navigator and an emergency SMS service.

Almost half the number of the visually impaired people in the world come from India at 15 million. So when the three schoolboys were asked to build a device under the theme 'connecting people', they knew exactly whom they wanted to help.

Sreekar, Anees and Parikshit took nearly a month to brainstorm on a product that could help integrate the visually challenged into society. Their research took them to Delhi's Pragati Maidan, where they realised that the Braille trail there was causing more harm than help.

In another month of work under the guidance of their robotics head Sanjay Bansal and the CommuniCane was ready. It has three features:

- A sound indicator and alarm for any obstruction on the road. If there is any vehicle or obstruction on your way, the CommuniCane will sound a voice alarm and alert you.

- A voice navigator for audio directions attached to a cell phone. You can feed the location into your cell phone and the inbuilt GPS will give you audio directions, if you take a wrong turn it will repeat the right direction and help put you back on track.

- Gravity sensitive emergency message system. An emergency SMS that will go to an emergency contact if the cane falls.

"We met a blind person, he was really happy to hear and to see what we had created in the real world. Really with tht potential to make a difference, we were elated to see a person who was suffering from such difficulties happy to see our product that time, we felt we made a difference," Sreekar said.

This device is sure to make the visually challenged feel more independent, but there are still some changes to be made. But the point is that the first step has been taken in the right direction.