If you spot someone wearing these shoes, stop what you’re doing and look around.

Computer scientists from Austria have developed a revolutionary shoe, InnoMake, to assist blind individuals in avoiding obstacles while walking. Tec-Innovation, an Austrian company, and Graz University of Technology collaborated to create the $3,000+ shoes. InnoMake features a waterproof ultrasonic sensor on each shoe’s toe, detecting obstacles up to 13 feet away. Vibrations and sounds alert the wearer as they approach objects. The technology is comparable to parking sensors found in vehicles. Markus Raffer, visually impaired co-founder of Tec-Innovation, highlighted its efficacy: “This works very well and is already a great help to me personally. ”Each foot has a dedicated sensor, available as a complete shoe or retrofit option. These sensors can even identify an object’s nature, differentiating between walls, cars, or stairs, providing customized alerts.

Tec-Innovation plans to enhance InnoMake’s design, incorporating camera-based recognition and machine learning for even better navigation assistance. Future iterations may offer a “street view navigation map” to aid other users.Friedrich Fraundorfer at TU Graz stated, “They use camera images from the foot perspective to determine an area that is free of obstacles and thus safe to walk on, and they can recognize and distinguish objects. ”InnoMake has the potential to transform the lives of visually impaired individuals, empowering them to navigate their surroundings more independently and safely.

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