You have a phone with a GPS to guide you when you do not know the right path. You keep looking at your phone to check whether you are on the right track until you hit that pole on the road. To counter this problem, Anirudh Sharma along with his friend Krispian Lawrence started Ducere Technologies, which is the parent company of LECHAL (pronounced lay-chal), Wearable Haptic Shoes. These shoes were initially made for the visually impaired. Anirudh was also awarded the MIT Technology Review 35 under 35 Award for the same.
LECHAL broadly offers four features especially in navigation, fitness, smart assist and accessibility.
When it comes to navigation you just need to set your destination and you will receive vibratory feedback in your shoes which will guide you on the right path, thus completely eliminating the need to look into the screen of the device for navigation.
As a result of this, one can never get lost while going to the destination.
With complete GPS and maps integration on the device, you will be notified of the landmarks and places of interests to visit around you on your phone as you travel. This also makes sure that you never lose your phone. LECHAL alerts you if your phone is not in close proximity. And all the setting on the device are customizable, like Notification Intensity, Notification alerts etc.
LECHAL lets you set your own fitness goals and also doubles up as a pedometer. One can keep a track of the calories burnt based on one’s activity.
Initially designed for the visually challenged, LECHAL takes care of their orientation while they are walking by vibrating which in turn points them in the right direction, be it familiar or an unfamiliar area.
At present, the founders are testing the product with L V Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. This is the first of its kind study in the world for testing a footware for its effectiveness as an assistive device for the visually impaired. The study is spearheaded by Dr. Anthony Vipin Das under the guidance of Dr. Virender Sangwan. Through this powerful, intuitive, unobtrusive footwear, LECHAL hopes to provide people, who are visually challenged, the confidence to independently move around in familiar and unfamiliar areas.
Apart from LECHAL, Anirudh has also been involved in several other projects ranging from architecture to devices in medical field and printer ink from readily available materials and creating storytelling platforms for children and 3D user Interface related projects among others. View all his projects here.
LECHAL is a revolution when it comes to navigation, and we think this device will change the way people use navigation tools from viewing on screen to experiencing on foot.
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