A pioneering facial recognition cane for the blind

May 8, 2015
Blind cane user

A revolutionary 'smart' cane enabling the visually impaired to instantly identify friends and family could be available soon, thanks to students at Birmingham City University.

 The 'XploR' mobility cane, being developed by ICT Steve Adigbo, Waheed Rafiq and Richard Howlett, uses smartphone technology to recognise from up to 10m away. The cane also features GPS functionality to aid navigation.

 The device has added importance for one of its developers, Steve Adigbo, whose grandfather is blind. Steve said: "My grandfather is blind and I know how useful this device could be for him. The smart cane incorporates to alert the user when they are approaching a relative or friend. There's nothing else out there like this at the moment."

The Birmingham City University team have already presented the XploR cane to medical and science professionals in Luxembourg and France, and plan to visit organisations in Germany later this year.

"Medical and healthcare companies in France really liked the product. Hopefully it'll be making a real difference to people's lives soon", said Waheed.

The students have designed the XploR cane to detect faces up to 10 metres away, vibrating when detecting a recognisable individual from a bank of images stored on an internal SD memory card.

The device will guide users towards friends and family members using an ear piece and audio guidance, with the information being relayed through bluetooth technology.

The students conducted market research at the Beacon Centre for the Blind in Wolverhampton, West Midlands, to determine key features that the visually impaired would find useful in a mobility cane.

"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", said Waheed.

"We'll be returning to the Beacon Centre later this year for people to test the product and also to highlight the training and security of the cane."

Explore further: Students develop cane with e-tags to guide blind

Related Stories

Cane toad or native frog? App prevents mistaken identity

May 22, 2013

Travelling around the top end of Australia, would you be able to tell the difference between a poisonous cane toad and a bumpy rocket frog or a giant frog? - They look similar but sound quite different. A new mobile app ...

Kimberley survey nets plenty of crocs

October 2, 2014

Parks and Wildlife officers have conducted a capture and release survey of freshwater crocodiles (Crocodylus johnsoni) with Bunuba Rangers at Winjanna Gorge National Park in the West Kimberley in preparation for the arrival ...

Eradicating cane toads with 'their own medicine'

November 14, 2011

Sydney University biologists have discovered cane toad tadpoles (Bufo marinus) communicate using chemicals excreted into the water, a finding that may help to impede the Cane Toad invasion of the Kimberley.

Recommended for you

Smartphones are revolutionizing medicine

February 18, 2017

Smartphones are revolutionizing the diagnosis and treatment of illnesses, thanks to add-ons and apps that make their ubiquitous small screens into medical devices, researchers say.

Six-legged robots faster than nature-inspired gait

February 17, 2017

When vertebrates run, their legs exhibit minimal contact with the ground. But insects are different. These six-legged creatures run fastest using a three-legged, or "tripod" gait where they have three legs on the ground at ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.