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Teen creates intelligent pipe for the blind

Raghav Ganesh, 13, from California, developed SmartWalk, in 2015, an electronic add-on to the traditional white cane that tube can expand the range and improve the mobility of the visually impaired and blind users. The invention uses ultrasonic and infrared technology that warns the user of vibrations on coming obstacles. It detects hanging objects, the end of the stairwell, protruding obstacles, etc.

Raghav saw a documentary film about the daily life of the blind and visually impaired and was immediately inspired by it. "There's an old piece of equipment that needed an upgrade here," Raghav says, "and I thought I could do better."

Raghav sought out Steve Mahan, blind, and CEO of the Santa Clara Valley Center For The Blind (SCVCFTB) a year ago after throwing together his first prototype SmartWalk to have blind people test it.

"It's pretty extraordinary for a 13-year-old to develop a device that is this sophisticated. There are quite similar, if less sophisticated, devices already on the market at a very high cost," said Steven.

"My prototype costs about $ 55, but I'm about $ 20 for the final price." That means this student device is not only cheaper but also better than the similar devices on sale, according to the CEO and SCVCFTB members.

Meeting monthly for the past year, Steve and customers of the SCVCFTB Raghav would test the prototypes and make improvements or changes to the design. They also gave Raghav the confidence to continue working on his idea.

"After taking the blind to the center and seeing them work with this," Raghav says, "I thought," Wow, I can really make a difference in someone's life ".

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