A young Pakistani student from the picturesque Swat valley in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province has invented ‘smart shoes’ for visually impaired people. It is designed to warn them about an obstacle within a radius of 120 centimeters with a sound or vibration.
Wasiullah, the 17-year-old who goes by a single name, is a tenth-grade student. The lad entered the world of innovation by repairing and fixing damaged toys, powered by electric batteries.
Speaking to Arab News, Wasiullah talked about his invention. “Visually impaired people will no longer need walking sticks or guides after smart shoes acquire popularity,” he said. “The shoes are fixed with an ultrasonic sensor and Arduino board to keep blind people safe while they are walking. Such individuals can get prior notification of any looming hindrance.”
Wasiullah said a pair of smart shoes could cost about Rs4,500. However, it was not possible for him to formally market them since he was even finding it difficult to fund his college education.
The head of KP Directorate General of Science and Information Technology, Sajid Shah, told Arab News that his department really appreciated the student for the invention. He added that they would encourage and support him to further develop the project.
He said his department has a separate wing of scientists with expertise in different fields, who evaluate inventions by individuals. “After evaluation by our scientists, our department will promote the project of smart shoes invented by Wasiullah for commercial purposes,” Shah said.
‘One of the brilliant students’
The 17-year-old lost his father recently, and his two elder brothers were daily wagers. His physics teacher, Muhammad Farooq, described Wasiullah as his most brilliant student, who often asked tricky questions during the lectures.
“Wasiullah used to work with me in the lab on different assignments,” he said. “I still believe he has the potential to emerge as a leading scientist if he gets proper coaching and opportunity.”
Farooq said his student had initially been planning to improve the white cane or invent a wheelchair for visually impaired people. Instead, he decided to focus on the shoes due to financial constraints.
Wasiullah maintained he wanted to get higher education in the field of science and technology. Meanwhile, he hopes that the government would sponsor and promote his smart shoe project.
“Smart shoes for visually impaired people are available in foreign countries,” Farooq informed. “But their prices are beyond the reach for many in this country. The government should own the project because the shoes Wasiullah has made are comparatively cheaper and more affordable.”
Story Courtesy: Arab News
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