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Engineer Makes Footgear to Guide People with Vision Problems

Wataru Chino showing the Ashirase walk support system he developed.

Said inventor Wataru Chino, "I had long been devoted to developing automobiles with an eye on safety, but I realized that walking could also be dangerous. I was aware that walking also constitutes a part of mobility."

Credit: Akiko Suzuki

Japanese engineer Wataru Chino has designed footwear that incorporates a flexible motor-mounted device embedded to guide vision-impaired users.

Wearers of the Ashirase walk support system are directed to destinations by a specialized smartphone application, which guides them via vibrations from the device in the shoes.

Chino was involved in the development of driverless vehicles and other systems at automaker Honda Motor, but realized in the course of his work "that walking could also be dangerous."

After learning that bicycles left on tactile paving could impede visually impaired pedestrians, he was struck with the concept of "embedding braille information in footwear."

From Asahi Shimbun (Japan)
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