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A Pioneering Facial Recognition Cane For the Blind

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A visually impaired man uses a cane to find his way.

Students at Birmingham City University have developed a smart can that can identify users' friends and family.

Credit: Birmingham City University

A smart cane using facial recognition technology could enable the visually impaired to instantly identify friends and family.

Developed by students at Birmingham City University, the XploR mobility cane recognizes familiar faces up to 10 meters away and alerts the user. The cane is designed to vibrate when it detects a recognizable individual from a bank of images stored on an internal SD memory card. The user would wear an earpiece and receive audio guidance, with the information being relayed through Bluetooth technology. The smart cane also features global-positioning system functionality to aid navigation.

The research team of Steve Adigbo, Waheed Rafiq, and Richard Howlett also conducted market research at the Beacon Center for the Blind in Wolverhampton to determine the most useful features. "We found that high-spec technology features were essential requirements for users, as well as the cane needing to be fairly lightweight and easy to use," Rafiq says.

From Birmingham City University
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