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Sreyash Sola has some interesting ideas on how to build devices to help those with vision impairments. He brought a few of those concepts to World Maker Faire in New York to show off. This middle schooler had the idea to use distance sensing electronics mounted to different devices, such as canes to help people navigate. Object distances are conveyed to the user in a tactile fashion by a rotating servo arm.

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At the Maker Faire, several people in his target audience were happy to try out the device. In this image you can see a man, who is blind, giving it a test drive, using it instead of his normal cane. The opportunity to interface with people at the Maker Faire was great for Sreyash, he got some good feedback on his devices. For example, some people suggested that the feedback part should be relocated onto the person instead of on the cane itself. People testing the device noted that this could be particularly useful if adjusted to detect things overhead or above typical cane use level.

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While it is great that Sreyash was able to get feedback on these devices, I think it is equally important that he brought this to Maker Faire and supplied an experience to people with vision impairments that was catered directly to them, something that isn’t very common.

Srayesh, who recently won the junior division of the Future Engineers contest with his 3D printed designs, has launched a web site to document these builds and help others in recreating his assistive devices.