Blind people can now ride a bicycle! Scientists have developed a bicycle that uses ultrasonic sensors to detect obstacles in the path — and it can help blind and partially sighted people live more independently.
The UltraBike, created by Harrogate-based Sound Foresight Technology, allows people with sight loss to cycle.
The bicycle has tactile buttons on each handlebar, which vibrate to let the rider know they are approaching a special barrier at the side of the specially-constructed track. This makes it possible to correct course and avoid a collision, website ‘road.cc’ reported.
The bike has drawn praise from users for allowing thevisually impaired to have a proper experience of riding a bike, rather than being limited to a stationary bike.
The bike uses similar technology to the UltraCane, a white stick that uses sensors to give blind people a fuller picture of the surrounding area while they are walking.
The bicycle was unveiled at the Technology for Life event at the Glasgow Science Centre organised by the RNIB Scotland charity.
Other exhibits included “smart-specs” that automatically focus light on undamaged areas of the eye, and a tool developed by Dunfermline-based company Optos which diagnoses health problems just by scanning the retina in the eye.
“We want designers to keep thinking about how to realise new technology’s potential to help blind and partially sighted people be part of an inclusive society,” RNIB Scotland director John Legg told the BBC.