Categories: News

GPS shoes for the visually impaired

The issue of mobility is not exclusive to motor vehicles. A point of view that Honda shares by offering, through its subsidiary Ashirase, a system of GPS shoes for the visually impaired.

The “Ignition” program d’Honda begins to bear fruit. As a reminder, this program launched by the Japanese manufacturer aims to see the creation and emergence of start-ups. Today, Honda is proud to promote the first project of its subsidiary Ashirase, who is interested in mobility in a more than human way.

A GPS 2.0 system

Obviously, visually impaired people can’t get behind the wheel. However, this handicap should in no way be a barrier to mobility of these people. With this in mind, Honda and Ashirase are therefore looking at an intelligent system supposed to facilitate the movement of visually impaired people.

Concretely, the Ashirase system – eponymous to the Honda subsidiary – resides in a navigation system including a smartphone app and a three-dimensional vibration device. This incorporates a motion sensor which is attached to the inside of the shoe.

Depending on the route defined using the application, the device vibrates to provide navigation directions necessary for the trip. Thus, when the user must go straight, the vibrator positioned on the front part of the foot vibrates. When approaching a change of direction to the right or to the left, the buzzer activates on the right or left side to warn the user.

This GPS 2.0 navigation technology is planned by March 31, 2023


A cultural phenomenon

The development of such a system is not due to chance. Indeed, according to a report written in 2006-2008 published by a research team from theJapanese Association of Ophthalmologists, the number of visually impaired people in Japan was estimated at 1.64 million in 2007. A number increased to nearly 2 million by 2030.

From this observation, the fight to make mobility safer and more efficient is therefore a real cultural phenomenon. Visually impaired people constantly check their safety and route when walking alone.

This is also the observation that draws up Wataru Chino, Directeur d’Ashirase Inc .: « An accident experienced by one of my family members prompted me to take action to ensure safer mobility and with more freedom for the visually impaired. […] I am sure we will face many obstacles as we bring Ashirase to market; however, we will overcome these obstacles one by one in order to work towards free mobility for the visually impaired.. »

In short, a great initiative that goes beyond the automotive sector. But who clearly wins by going beyond the Japanese borders!

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