Honda has a history of making devices intended for improving pedestrian life for people who need a little extra assistance. Anything to help increase the autonomy of the visually impaired is surely to be a great add-on for.
The device fits around each foot, and includes a motion sensor attached to the outside of the shoe. Pairing with a smart phone app, the device will vibrate based on routes set in the app. The left side of the left foot will vibrate to indicate a left turn (and the opposite for a right turn), while the toes of each foot will vibrate to maintain a forward trajectory.
While the device isn’t going to replace the old standard white cane any time soon, this is a step in the right direction. By allowing the visually impaired to navigate without constantly keeping direction and distances in mind, this device makes it possible for the user to walk in a more relaxed fashion. Focusing on the things around them, rather than what direction they need to be pointed, also makes walking safer.
Originally featured in Access and Inclusion through Technology
In Japan, Honda has established a startup accelerator called IGNITION, which aims to develop new mobility business ventures with funding and marketing. The first company to be launched from this accelerator is called Ashirase, and aims to develop an in-shoe navigation system to help support the visually impaired with walking and routines. The company hopes to have a viable product to market before the end of March 2023.