Posts about canes

Some (more) thoughts on smart canes

Why more?

In early 2021, I wrote a blog post about smart canes, why they usually are hipe, and why canes have design elements that make them so versatile. This blog post got a couple orders of magnitude more traffic than I expected, and based on the feedback I have received, it was educational for many people. It has been posted on many peoples blogs, and even Hacker News. I want to make sure the positive reception of my article is used to guide the industry in an appropriate direction, and generate new useful technologies, instead of being synical and bashing anyone who may have the thought to attach something to a cane.

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Reflection: What its like to march in a band while blind.

Beginning thoughts

I have been reflecting on the last decade and a half of my life over the past couple of months, in an attempt to better understand why I have made key decisions, and how those decisions were pivotal in shaping me. This is partially part of my goal setting exercise, where I plan to have at least 5 long term goals set out for myself by the end of 2021 since clear goals are very crucial for guiding ones life. As part of this reflection, it occurred to me that I never formally documented the truly amazing experience I had marching in the band as a blind high schooler. I realize it's been nearly a decade since I last stepped foot on a field, and my knowledge may be a little rusty, but I want to make sure information is available for blind children who are questioning if they can march in the band. I've talked to people who were required to stand on the edge of the field while the rest of the band marched, and I simply want other blind people to have a resource to use, and a resource to point future teachers, section leaders, and drum majors to for reference purposes so that blind people can actually be successful marching. There was one instance in band, where due to some odd conditions with the field, I didn't march during a 2 hour window, and as a result it made me realize I need to tell my experience the way it was, with no fluff, to encourage other blind teenagers to go out, march instead of stand on the sidelines, and have the time of their life. The friendships I made in band changed me and my friends for life, and I truly got to be a member of the band, my section, and the school in a special way that other blind people often don't get.

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Some Thoughts on Smart Canes

over the last few years, many attempts have been made at creating a smart cane. None of them have successfully lead to a market transforming technology that's actually used by any substantial users.

I saw a recent example of a smart cane getting news coverage, and it deserves particular attention because of a particularly egregious argument used within. I've seen this argument, or variations therein, made in several posts about smart canes. I will address this below, and lay out why this argument does not present a solid case in favor of a smart cane. I will then lay out several design and engineering constraints that must be met before I would ever be able to recommend a smart cane to another blind person.

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