Student, St. Xaviers College
Indirani is a final year political science student from Saint Xaviers College, Mumbai. Every day her journey begins from her residence in Bandra at 8.45 a.m. to attend her first lecture in college. She travels in local train from Bandra (East) to CST to reach her college. Indirani uses white cane for her mobility however for the past few months she is using Smartcane to move around everywhere she goes. She uses the device about 3-4 hours each day. She shared that earlier in spite of using white cane she would bang onto tree branches and would injure her forehead. Also several times while walking on the pavements, her white cane would pass between the waist high barriers which are placed at every 50 meters causing injuries to her leg. But since the time she is using Smartcane device, there has not been any such instances. She detects street dogs on roads, Trains on the either sides of the railway platforms and many more. She even successfully participated in a rally without any human guide using Smartcane to get the water supply issue resolved in her residential society. She detected people walking ahead of her with the vibratory indications from the device.
Indirani shared that, “I no more bang onto people especially at dawn and dusk when I have absolutely no vision. I feel a lot safer with this device. Earlier people used to yell at me when I would step on them accidentally. Now, I detect them from quite a distance and excuse them gracefully making them feel amazed and startled”
She continues further saying,
“It feels great to be able to move around alone. I no more need to hold anyone’s hand for my mobility. I can just be myself. Family and friends have now started believing that yes now you can travel anywhere and everywhere without any assistance”
Indirani is a lively girl. In her free time she loves to watch movies and hang out with friends. She enjoys her independence and when asked she did not hesitate to express that the device has increased her confidence to a great deal. She feels that if learnt properly the device could be highly useful for mobility of people with visual
Manju is visually impaired by birth. She started to use white cane since the time she began to move independently. However she recently started using Smart cane and she felt a positive change in her confidence level when on road. Now with the device she detects big trucks, poles, pillars, people or objects which she may not have touched from a distance of 3 meters. This has reduced her anxiety.
She uses Smart cane everywhere especially at the railway platforms.
“My initial experience with the White cane was like gosh!! And now with Smart cane it’s like wow. I walk faster and I am more confident now. Just one word for the device: It’s wonderful”
She further quotes
“The fast approaching obstacle detection in the device is highly useful. When people move fast from your side, it is very easy to save yourself from colliding with them. It’s been a very good experience because I have been able to save myself from a lot of banging and especially where I live there are a lot of vehicles that keep on coming in. And for me it’s like a blessing in disguise”
Manju had this opinion that if a person really uses this device properly it will always be fruitful because this warns about the presence of a knee above object from quite a distance. Therefore one can easily prevent from collision.
Satguru hails from Delhi. He has been using Smart cane device for roughly one year. Satguru works for a government agency and his daily routine involves lot of travel as his office is quite far from his residence. He starts from his home at around 7AM in the morning and reaches office at 9:30 a.m. This includes half an hour walking in between. He shared with us that Smartcane has greatly helped him with his mobility activities.
He says, “The device protects him from a lot of upper body injuries which he earlier used to encounter on a daily basis while using the regular White cane”.
He further adds, “On Delhi roads it is not easy to walk for a completely blind person, as the footpaths are not proper, there are trees on the way, ditches and open manholes. This really makes our life miserable. Though Smartcane cannot detect ditches and other stuff which is of ground level, however it is really helpful to save us from those bent trees on footpath which could be very dangerous at time”
He also shared that Smartcane has given him a new confidence to walk freely. He tells that now he can follow the queue in Metro by simply following the vibratory patterns with more confidence and doesn’t get embarrassed for accidentally coming in contact or bumping onto people especially while moving in the queue to buy journey tickets at Metro station. Satguru feels that with Smartcane use, his personality has also got a new look.
He says, “Now people come to me and ask about the device, and how it helps us. They appreciate us. Also, This gives me an opportunity to connect with more people”.