Electronics-packing cane could soon be able
In the past we've seen experimental one-off canes that detected obstacles via ultrasound, or which allowed their users to locate people that they know. While the iCane can't do either of those things, it is possibly headed for production – and it does still have some handy tricks up its sleeve.
First of all, plans call for the adjustable-length aluminum alloy cane to be equipped with a GPS module. This will allow other people to track the whereabouts of its user, and to see the route that they've taken – this could be quite important, if that person is suffering from dementia.
It will also have an SOS feature, in which a two-second-long press of a button on its handle will send an alert to three people of the user's choice. Those people can initially be selected using an iOS/Android app on a synced smartphone.
Additionally, as it will have its own SIM card, it can be used as a phone. Pressing another button on its handle once, twice or three times will put a call through to one of three contacts. The handle's speaker and mic will then allow the user to carry on a conversation with that person – albeit a conversation in which they're holding their cane up to their head.
Finally, the iCane will also have a built-in LED flashlight, helping users to see where they're going in the dark.
It's currently the subject of an Indiegogo campaign, where a pledge of US$79 will get you one if all goes according to plans. The estimated retail price is $149.