Indian start up firm develops smart shoes called ‘Lechal’ which uses Haptic Feedback and Bluetooth for navigation.
Creators of wearable technology, Ducere Tech, have developed smart shoe technology “Lechal” which can provide direction to its wearer without the need to look into their smartphone for directions. By using the ‘Lechal footwear technology’ this Indian start-up firm aims to provide a better navigation capacity to the visually impaired individuals. In Hindi, Lechal indicates “take me there”.
The very first step, while using the ‘Lechal footwear technology’ is to enter user’s destination into the Lechal app by using either Google Maps or similar navigation app. With the help of Bluetooth, the smartphone app now gets connected to a small module which slides into the back of each shoe near the heel area. Creators have used the Haptic feedback technology wherein the navigation app provides direction to the module, based on which it produces vibrations either in the right or left foot thus sending signals to the wearer to take the appropriate turns, resulting into a better navigation of the wearer.
Ducere Tech, is the brainchild of Krispian Lawrence, a graduate of the University of Michigan and Anirudh Sharma, a graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Located in Hyderabad, India, this start-up was set up in 2011 and its major goal was to make the wearable technology reach common people.
Lechal, was designed by the pioneers of Ducere Tech with an aim of improving the current navigation aids available to the blind people.
While speaking to White Print, an Indian magazine printed in Braille, the creators said: “The white cane, while an effective aid, falls short with respect to navigation, directions and orientation. Moreover, current assistive devices rely primarily on providing audio feedback. People who are visually challenged rely heavily on their sense of hearing to acquaint themselves with the environment and may find audio feedback a major distraction.”
Lawrence and Sharma, hope that their innovative creation would provide confidence to the visually impaired people to move independently not only around the familiar places but also around the unfamiliar ones with the same level of comfort.
Ducere Tech has entered into a partnership with the world renowned L.V. Prasad Eye Institute to run the clinical trials of Lechal footwear technology.
As per reports from Mashable, Lechal footwear technology not only can be used by the visually impaired individuals but also it can be used as a lifestyle product wherein an individual can track the number of steps taken and calories burnt during workouts. The technology is also available in the form of an ‘insole platform’.
Available in red and black colors, the cost of shoes is expected to be in the range of $100-$150, for International markets, depending on whether the customer orders just the insoles or a complete shoe. For every customer whether they buy the shoe or just an insole, the company would be providing the module, app and charger. The app is compatible with all the operating systems such as Android, iOS and Windows.
The charger provided by the company can be used to charge user’s smartphones. Furthermore, the footwear alerts its user if their smartphone is not within the limit of certain radius, thus as long as user wears Lechal they will never ever leave their phone behind!!!
While speaking to Times of India in March 2015, Gaurav Duggal, embedded design engineer at Ducere Tech informed that the first pre-order of Lechal footwear will be shipped in May 2015. Duggal informed that for Indian markets the rates would be lower; however he did not mention the exact cost of the footwear.
For more information regarding Lechal, readers can check the link.
Check the attached video to know how Lechal can also work as a lifestyle product: