These Intelligent Shoes Will Be the Eyes of the Visually Impaired

Guide dogs might become a thing of the past, thanks to this smart type of shoe with ultrasonic sensors, that shows blind people where to go.
InnoMake shoe for the blind 1 photo
Photo: TU Graz
The invention called InnoMake belongs to the Austrian startup Tec-Innovation and makes a great assistant for visually impaired people.

The InnoMake shoe is an intelligent medical device that comes equipped with ultrasonic sensors placed on the toe of the footwear. The sensors can detect obstacles up to four meters (13 feet) away and warn their wearer through sound alerts and vibration, as explained on the TU Graz website.

But the more interesting thing about the InnoMake shoe is that it’s going to receive an impressive upgrade. Tec-Innovation partnered with the Graz University of Technology to make the shoe even smarter and more helpful.

The InnoMake will soon have integrated cameras and machine-learning algorithms. The purpose of the algorithms is to interpret the content of the camera image and determine if there are any obstacles ahead. The complex AI algorithms will also be able to recognize and distinguish objects.

The technology will be of great help to the blind and the visually impaired. Not only will they be warned of the existence of an upcoming obstacle, but they’ll also know what type of obstacle lies ahead. This way, people will know whether they’re dealing with a pothole, a rock they can step right on, a wall, a car, etc. The AI will be able to recognize what the walkable paths are and will act as the eyes of the person wearing the shoes.

The InnoMake developers want to go even further and use the images and information collected to create a street view navigation map for blind people.

There’s no information available so far about the release date of the new upgraded InnoMake shoes. However, the ultrasonic sensor version is available for purchase on the Tec-Innovation website. The shoes are priced at €3,200 (approximately $3,840) a pair.

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About the author: Cristina Mircea
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Cristina’s always found writing more comfortable to do than speaking, which is why she chose print over broadcast media in college. When she’s not typing, she also loves riding non-motorized two-wheelers, going on hikes with her dog, and rocking her electric guitars.
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