Two young people from the different countries in Africa have independently created similar devices to help blind people navigate their way. The device was first developed by an Algerian, Badreddine Zebbiche, who termed it “Guide me”. Although not yet in the market uses three-dimensional sensors fitted to each side of the wearer’s shoes to detect obstacles.
Last October, Zebbiche was a joint winner of the 2013 Technology Idea Competition to encourage start-ups that is run by the Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) Initiative. It seeks out new entrepreneurs in Africa, Asia, Middle East and Turkey.
Adebimpe Obembe, a medical rehabilitation researcher at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) in Nigeria, has also developed a similar device called a “wearable obstacle detection system”. According to him, this is the first of its kind in Nigeria, and to the best of our knowledge, Africa.
The system uses ultrasound to detect obstacles on the floor and then sends a radio signal to a headpiece. The advantage is the small size, low cost and lack of wearable constraints. It is however, still undergoing some work to make it more compact.
We are really happy about this. Way to go!