Real-World Insight: Integrating Google Maps into a Smart Cane for the Visually Impaired


Last month, Google Maps introduced new features that will make visually impaired people’s daily navigation a lot easier, but they’re not the only ones who focus on improving these people’s lives. December 3rd marks International Day of Persons with Disabilities, and this blog will look into a new inspiring innovation with a lot of potential.

Technology has always aimed to help make people’s lives easier and more comfortable. But in a world where we’re talking about flying cars, some argue that we’re forgetting about others’ most basic needs. Alone in the US, there are about 10 million people with visually impairments, while the numbers goes up to 250 million people worldwide. For a long time, these people have been using the so-called “white cane”, which is, as the name suggests, just a cane. So is it really fair to be talking about flying vehicles when over 250 million people continue to rely on literal sticks in their daily lives? The people behind the WeWALK cane say no to this.


Kursat Ceylan is a Turkish inventor, and having been blind since birth, he decided that he wants to make a difference for people who deal with the same type of challenges as himself. Along with a team of experts, Ceylan has developed a new smart cane which aims to help people with impairments to navigate with more confidence and safety. The WeWALK has an integrated ultrasonic sensor which detects objects and warns the user of objects with its vibrating handle. With the regular white cane, it’s only possible to detect obstacles from the knee down (and only by the time you’ll actually hit the obstacle), but the sensor in the WeWALK cane detects objects from the user’s knees and up, and thus helps users avoid knocking their heads into any low-hanging objects. But this isn’t all. The WeWALK cane can also be paired with your smartphone via Bluetooth, and with its Voice Assistant and Google Maps integrations, navigation gets easier as it gives the users directions through its own integrated speakers. The cane has touchpad controls, which enables the user to keep one hand free instead of having to hold their phone for directions.

You can find more real-world insights along with more Google Maps use cases on our blog.

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