Palestinian students from a university in Hebron invent what they call ''Smart Assist System for Blind people''; a vest that facilitates movement. Jim Drury reports.
Ayoub al-Sarsour usually walks with the help of a cane. But now the blind Palestinian could abandon his stick forever, thanks to this 'smart' vest. Designed by students at Hebron's Polytechnic University, it uses vibration sensors and vocal commands piped through headphones. It's called the Smart Assist System for Blind People, and student Abdel Rahman al-Barmeel helped design it. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) MEDICAL DEVICES ENGINEERING GRADUATE STUDENT, ABDEL RAHMAN AL-BARMEEL, SAYING: "The project offered many solutions that differed to other previous projects. For example, the idea of the ground sensor is very effective and new in this field. The system works by directing the people through voice commands and vibration commands." When the vest's battery is low, a warning alert sounds and the vest switches to energy saving mode. The team says it's simple to use. Ayoub al-Sarsour is impressed. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) BLIND MAN, AYOUB AL-SARSOUR, SAYING: "This is an alternative for the stick that we use in our daily life. It tells you where the obstacles are on your right, left or in front. This is really great." It's not the first such vest on the market. But the Hebron team believes the vest could be cheaper and just as effective. They're now seeking sponsorship to make their prototype commercially viable.