Wazeer Hayath, a 52–year–old grassroots innovator from Karnataka, has developed a walking stick with an audio alarm to assist blind people. The device has been tested with the help of Blind People's Association, Ahmedabad and the feedback of around 15 blind persons recorded.
The users appreciated the voice alert facility but also suggested that the walking stick have a 'vibration mode' for the alarm. Additionally, they requested incorporation of a proximity sensor. Hayath has since sold 1000 units of different variants in India and abroad.
Son of a poor farmer, Hayath had to discontinue studies early to support his family. He started his career as a bore–well mechanic and then moved to electronics repair and opened a shop named 'Waz technology'. One day, while working in his shop, he saw a blind man slip and fall into a slushy pothole on the opposite side of the road. He could not help the hapless man on the other side of the road but the incident left him feeling sad. He thought of doing something so that such an incident could be prevented. Using his knowledge of electronics, he thought of developing a stick which would assist the blind moving about safely.
He then began work on the walking stick and gradually developed three variants of the same, namely, a talking folding stick; a sensor–based folding automatic stick; and double–sensor based talking folding stick. These sticks run on chargeable batteries and have a recorded voice system which alerts the user about water or an obstruction ahead.
As soon as the sensor detects water, the signal gets transmitted to the controller which actuates the audio alert. In crowded places, the user can get a voice alert, 'Excuse Me. Side Please' just by the simple press of a button. Having an inbuilt sensor system and alert facility, this walking stick reduces the chances of accidents for blind people.
The National Innovation Foundation filed a patent in Hayath's name in 2008 and supported him under its Micro Venture Innovation Fund Scheme for sale of the sticks on a commercial scale.
The distinguishing feature of his stick over others is the availability of three different variants ranging from Rs 900 to Rs 2400, each at a lesser cost than its market competition. Hayath has also developed an arecanut–cutting machine which is also gaining in demand slowly.Source
Times of India
20 November 2013,
by - Chitra Unnithan