Brian Mwenda hated to watch his visually impaired friends come into class every day, having to use white sticks to help them find their desks, the Guardian reports.
“I wanted to make it easier for them to move around so I researched all the potential devices that were available, using light or sound. I found it fascinating that bats use sound to know the exact shape of the object in front of them, and the possibility of echolocation came up,” he told the Guardian.
Mwenda was keen to develop a tool that could one day replace the white cane his friends used. He built a small, handheld device – the Sixth Sense – that employs ultrasonic sensors to vibrate in relation to one’s proximity to an object. The closer one gets to it, the more the device vibrates.
The Sixth Sense tool also serves as an emergency device. The user can push a button if in distress: this sends a text to a nominated contact, informing them of the user’s location.
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