HALO for the Visually Impaired
The HALO – Haptic Assited Location of Obstacles promises to be a guide for the visually impaired and blind section of the society. Being visually impaired is in itself a huge obstacle in life. Not to mention all the physical obstacles that one encounters in his/her daily life. Under such conditions if someone comes up with a device which can at least help remove or overcome these physical obstacles in day-to-day life a lot of problems get taken care of.
By designing a product like the HALO, a haptic device, Steve Struebing has probably tried to do his bit in making life a little simpler for the visually impaired. It has been called the HALO as per the acronym of its complete name. You can also consider it to be a Halo in terms of its appearance, at least to some extent. The device is a ring that is to be worn on the head by the user. Unlike other detectors which sound a beep this device makes use of the haptic technology.
Haptic technology refers to a tactile feedback technology. It makes use of a person’s sense of touch either by applying force or by using vibrating motions. The word has been derived from a Greek term haptikos which relates to the sense of touch. This has been further taken from the Greek verb haptesthai which means to touch. The use of this technology is being introduced in various fields like computers, video games, robotics, art/design and most important of all, in the medical research department. It is not only for the visually impaired but also for mainstream surgical processes where it is used in minimally invasive surgery processes.
In the absence of the sense of sight, the sense of touch becomes very sharp and based upon this fact the HALO has been designed. When using the HALO, the closer the user gets to an obstacle the more frequent/powerful are the vibrations. This acts as an alert and prompts the person to change route.
The HALO consists of an Arduino Mega 2560 controller which runs on a single 9V battery. Being a very useful device it also carries the advantage of being relatively inexpensive. Since it falls under the affordable range it will not only remain as an innovative concept but will be sure to take shape as a wonder product and a boon to all the needy ones.