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A "Smart" white long cane for the blind which incorporates GPS technology as well as ultrasonic sensors to detect nearby objects.

The device will have essentially the same structure as current white long canes however will have GPS technology as well as ultrasonic sensors built into the cane.

The GPS technology will be operated through voice commands given to the cane where the user will be able to input what address he/she wishes to go to. Alternatively, if voice commands cannot be understood by the device (possibly due to the user unable to speak the language, or due to a thick accent) a miniature keypad will be located on the device which can be used instead to input the instructions. In addition, the GPS functionality will allow the guide stick to "remember" certain locations and the way in which the user reached the destination as well as allowing the user to input points of interest at the location. The "Smart" cane will relay information to a bluetooth headset worn by the user giving information in regards to what direction to travel, for how many metres, etc

Three ultrasonic sensors will be located at the bottom of the cane each separated by 60 degree angles providing a 180 degree field of vision. When an object approaches the cane, the handle of the cane will vibrate notifying the user of an incoming object. If for example the user was approaching an object to the left of the user, the left side of the handle will vibrate, if on the right, the right side of the handle will vibrate, and if infront, the top of the handle will vibrate.

We are also considering incorporating a text-to-speech reader on the device which can be detached from the stick and used to read documents, restaurant menus, etc. The speech will be fed directly into the bluetooth headset, much in the same way spoken instructions from the GPS are relayed to the bluetooth headset.

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    May 3 2012: It sounds like a great idea. Some questions though:
    Will it be priced so that it is available to low-income people (as the blind often are)?
    Will it be sold with a training programme?
    Will there be a helpline for people to call?
    How heavy will it be?
    Can you incorporate a 'finder' so that the cane can easily be located?
    I hope you get it off the ground and it is a success.