Enactive Torch a new device developed by scientists could help the visually impaired better navigate everyday life with the help of infra-red sensors to "see" objects in front of it.
The research conducted in University of Cincinnati could help all the aging baby boomers, injured veterans, diabetics and white-cane-wielding pedestrians navigate the blurred edges of everyday life.
Luis Favela, a graduate student in philosophy and psychology, has found the torch that allows the visually impaired to judge their ability to comfortably pass through narrow passages, as good as if they were actually seeing such pathways themselves.
When the torch detects an object, it emits a vibration which is similar to a cellphone alert through an attached wristband. The gentle buzz increases in intensity as the torch nears the object, that enables the user make judgments about where to move based on a virtual touch.
Favela said that in his research he found that there was an emotional stigma that people who were visually impaired experience, particularly children.
Favela added that when one compared the participants' judgments with vision, cane and Enactive Torch, there was not a significant difference, meaning that they made the same judgments and the three modalities were functionally equivalent and people could carry out actions just about to the same degree whether they were using their vision or their sense of touch.