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Faculty of Engineering

Bat-inspired technology showcased

Published Wednesday 14 November 2012

UltraCaneA novel way to help blind and partially sighted people navigate their way around pavements, buildings and even mountain bike tracks has been showcased in a new BBC television series.

The UltraCane uses ultrasonic waves - just as bats do - to reveal the location of obstacles. This data is then relayed to users¬†through vibrations to the handle helping them to ‘feel’ their way around.

But this same technology, which originated as a research project at the University of Leeds, could potentially have broader applications. Last night viewers of the BBC series ‘Miracles of Nature’ watched a blind cyclist use the exact same bat-inspired technology to get him safely down a mountain bike trail.

The initial idea for the UltraCane came from work at the University of Leeds by engineer Professor Brian Hoyle of the Faculty of Engineering and colleagues. The technology was subsequently improved and re-developed for market by the company Sound Foresight Technology Ltd.

More information about the UltraCane is available from Sound Foresight Technology Ltd.

Related articles:
Faculty of Engineering - UltraCane gives blind and partially sighted freedom to roam

Contact:
University of Leeds: Paula Gould, 0113 343 8059, p.a.gould@leeds.ac.uk
UltraCane: Ruth Badley, 01423 884 063, ruth.badley@btconnect.com