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Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Taparch: ‘Sensing’ Shoes Will Help The Blind Move Around Easily

Krishna Sai Inkoolu is the Founder & Director at Taparch Footwear Pvt Ltd. So, what is so great about this footwear-maker anyway? Well, his shoes help blind people and those having less than 15 degrees of visual field, identify and isolate obstacles within a range of 400 cms. It is currently in the pre-incubation stage, and is already in the market and is priced feasibly. Taparch has been tested at the National Association of the Blind and Krishna wants to scale the trial to a national level.
Krishna was a student at the Gandhi Institute of Technology and Management (GITAM), when he was motivated to help visually impaired people live more dignified lives. While they navigate around the world with their white/red canes, they are visible to us, as being seriously at a disadvantage, which they indeed are. These shoes quietly guide them without announcing their blindness to the world.
To design these shoes, Krishna observed how they moved around. As he told Techpedia, “We keenly observed the conventional walking methods of the visually impaired. While 80% of them used Hoover canes, the rest were dependent on echolocation. Therefore, we realized that there was no significant and economical technology available to cater to the needs of the visually impaired. With that thought in mind, we invented Taparch, that works on the principle of “Sense of Touch”, and lets the user identify the distance and dimension of the obstacle ahead.”

While he states that the technology behind the shoe has been easy to crack – converting mechanical energy into power – it is also much less expensive and more user-friendly. Well, all that electrical energy generated can also be used to recharge the user’s phone, while he/she is walking!
The shoes work with a sensor that “is placed at the weld point of the shoe, which identifies the obstacle and gives a tap on the arch of the shoe. With the help of micro-electronics, the entire circuit is placed in the shoe socket, which has a connection with the weld point where the sensor is placed”, reported Moneycontrol. The shoe works on a rechargeable battery and doesn’t need a smartphone.
Krishna realised it was important to know when the sensor was not working since there is no system that is fail-proof. So he has embedded a “mistake-proofing” device in the shoe to pick up on any errors. If the sensor fails, it raises an alarm to alert the wearer.
Shoes don’t come anymore hip than these! Now, if only Krishna can offer colour options…
Written for Ericsson's blog: Networked India

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