Torch-it device is an electronic travel aid used in conjunction with a normal white cane that assists a visually impaired person in mobility and navigation. While the normal white cane only detect obstacles up to knee/waist
height, this device is capable of detecting obstacles from knee/waist to head height. In other words, the Torch-it is not meant to replace the white cane but to augment its functionality.
It can detect obstacles up to 3.2 meters when used open areas, outdoor up to 1.3 meters, when used indoor it detects up to 0.6 meters. With this increased range. It warns the users about impending obstacles before the possible collision happens and helps in finding collision-free paths.
The Torch-it device uses ultrasonic waves to detect the presence of obstacles. These are sound waves which are not audible to human beings. The device has an ultrasonic sensor which can transmit as well as receive the ultrasonic waves. In the presence if obstacles are detected by the sensor of the device, if the obstacles from which
waves are reflected lie within certain direction and distance range, a warning is issued to the user in the form of vibrations similar to a cell phone.
It is necessary for the user to grip the device in a way that the sensor is directed forward in the direction of upcoming obstacles. The Torch-it device is fitted onto top fold of white cane as and when it is necessary and can be re-attached using a simple latching mechanism.
The benefits of using the Torch-it device are as follows:
● It helps to detect knee/waist-above obstacles which are usually not detected by the white cane. Such obstacles might include a tree branch, underside or a car, hanging cloth strings, protruding window air conditioners, etc. As these obstacles usually pose a risk of injury to the head and upper part of the body, it is critical to detect them early.
● It increases the detection range to 3.2 meters in the long range mode and to 0.6 meters in short-range mode. The enhanced detection range helps in informing the user about the presence of obstacles much before touching the actual obstacle. An object as big as a wall and as small as a 3-cm wide raised pipe at 3m can be detected from a mentioned distance.
● It helps in finding collision free-path while walking by detecting and avoiding obstacles.