Malawian students develop a smart stick to help the visually impaired

Students from Malawi's University of Livingstonia have developed a sensory walking stick to help the visually impaired to move around without any assistance. Known as the Smart Stick, it is able to detect obstacles in a person's path when they are walking.

The Smart Stick was unveiled the university's Computer Engineering, Public Health, and Food Security and Nutrition Symposium during October 2017.

University of Livingstonia Malawi Smart Stick
Director of Health Technical Services in the Ministry of Health, Dr Benson Chilima (centre) checking the device | Nyasa Times.

“This is a breakthrough for people with blindness challenges. They will no longer struggle to walk on their own as the stick guides them wherever they go. We have devised this stick in such a way that it uses three feelings of moisture, distance and light which enables them to automatically receive audio directions whenever they are walking even during the night,” Tikhala Mwale, a fourth-year Computer Engineering student at University of Livingstonia, is reported to have said.

What is important to note about the Smart Stick is that it has the potential to allow those who are visually impaired to move around without any human assistance as it is able to detect a wide range of obstacles in the path.

“This clearly demonstrates that as students who will be graduating in a days’ time, you are ready to help the country offer solutions to a number of challenges that the country is facing. The industry out there needs graduates who are valuable and ready to give solutions that they have learned from the four years they have been studying,” said Dr. Benson Chilima, Director of Health Technical Services at Malawi's Ministry of Health,

It is not known yet whether the Smart Stick will be going into production nor when will it be publicly available for sale or usage.

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