“GPS shoes” to guide blind or partially sighted people

The famous Japanese conglomerate Honda recently presented a device intended to equip any pair of shoes. This is an innovative system that integrates motion sensors and slides easily into shoes. Vibrations occur to guide the visually impaired person in the directions to be taken.

Simple and efficient

In March 2021, we talked about the computer giant Intel and its brand new assistance system for the visually impaired. This one is based on artificial intelligence and fairly bulky gear: a stereoscopic camera (Luxonis Oak-D), a battery, and a computer, all hidden in a backpack and fanny pack. In addition, the user guidance is done using a Bluetooth headset connected to the computer.

And if there was you don’t need that much equipment to guide the visually impaired? Indeed, in a press release dated June 11, 2021, the well-known car manufacturer Honda revealed a much simpler system. This original navigation system was designed by Ahirase Inc, one of its subsidiaries, and is located at foot level. More specifically, it is a device who slips in shoes.

Activate motion sensors vibration at the user’s toes in the right foot or the left foot according to the desired direction. The system includes a mobile application including a map. Therefore, the user who wants to go to a particular location should simply set his destination and the device will take care of the guidance.

honda gps shoes
Credits: capture YouTube / Biker Spirit Magazine

Shoes to walk down the street with peace of mind

According to Honda, this concept is currently in the testing phase and launched in the first quarter of 2023. The designers believe that their innovation holds great promise. It must be said that blind and visually impaired people are exposed to many dangers in urban space. In addition, the device is discreet and concerns only the feet so as not to disturb the hands. Indeed, people with a visual impairment often able to handle a stick.

“Ahirase’s navigation provides an intuitive understanding of the route. As a result, the user does not have to be constantly aware of the direction, so that he can walk with peace of mind and safely.” we can read in the press release.

Remember, in 2019, the first vision report published by the World Health Organization recalled that 2.2 billion people (or nearly 1 in 4 people) in the world suffer from visual impairment or blindness. Among these people is 65 million are blind or visually impaired.

Here is the demonstration of the concept in video: