Argentinian Student Invents Ultrasound Shoes to Help his Friend Walk Without Cane

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( — November 17, 2014)  — Buenos Aires – Good news for people with visual impairments from Argentina. According to RT News, a student from Buenos Aires invented shoes with ultrasound sensors that enable blind persons to walk without a cane.

Juan Manuel Bustamante , a student at Buenos Aires Industrial College, worked on his project for  six months. He installs ultrasound sensors in the shoes than can detect nearby objects. The shoes named ‘Duspavoni’ were presented at the National Science Fair in Buenos Aires on Friday.

“I wish Duspavoni, my creation, could get to revolutionize the lives of people with sight problems, partial or total visual impairment,” he told Ruptly.

“The shoes have been conceived for young blind people, between 10 and 25 years old, as they are most refusing to use the white cane.”

Bustamante explained that Duspavoni have three ultrasound sensors placed inside the sole. One is in frontal; other is placed in the back and third is placed laterally. The sensors emit ultrasound waves and pick them up as they reflect the nearby object. After detecting the size and the distance of the object, the shoes vibrate accordingly.

“The closer the object is, the more the device vibrates,” Bustamante said. “If the object is ahead, the tip of the shoe vibrates. If it is on the side, the sole vibrates, and if it is behind, the heel vibrates.”

Reportedly, the device can detect different kinds of materials, people, and animals within a 25-inch (63.5 centimeter) radius of the wearer. The system is powered with rechargeable Li-Ion batteries which can provide tree days autonomy. Batteries can be charged by a USB cable connected to a computer, or even by a mobile phone charger. The time needed for a total charge is about five hours.

Bustamante said he wanted to help a friend who was losing her vision. He created the shoes to replace the traditional white cane with something more discreet, which may create less of a social stigma.

“She told me young blind people do not like the cane because they feel it stigmatizes them,” Bustamente told EFE.