Commentary: Smart Canes

The following story is about a prototype of a “smart” cane for people who are blind or visually impaired. According to the researchers, this cane would recognize other people’s faces from about 30 feet away. It would also have other neat features, such as GPS.

While it would be nice for me to have a device with facial recognition capabilities, I wouldn’t necessarily want or use my cane for that purpose. I do, however, think that a cane with GPS functions would help.

There is another issue to consider: would the cane be light and portable with all of the technical additions? I think this is certainly doable – after all, cell phones now fit in the palm of our hand! Cost would be the next important area to consider. One of the nice features of the cane is that it is a device most people can afford, and if technology is added, there is always the possibility that the cost will increase significantly.

I look forward to the day when technology helps me recognize people I may run into when I’m out and about. Regardless of whether it is on a cane or other device, I think this technology will be very helpful to those of us without sight.

Thanks for reading, and you can learn more about this fascinating prototype at http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/02/tech/xplor-smart-cane-blind/. Stay tuned for Thursday’s post, where I’ll talk about how facial recognition and other recently developed technologies can help blind and visually impaired individuals.

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