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The blind will soon be able to identify their loved ones using this one-of-a-kind cane

From recognizing strangers on your porch to helping arrest a shoplifter, facial recognition software has been implemented in a wide variety of ways. Whether those use-cases can be called revolutionary is up in the air, though the implementation of facial recognition technology in order to help the blind is certainly revolutionary. This smart cane with facial recognition technology was first spotted by Phys.org.

Developed by Birmingham City University students Steve Adigbo, Waheed Rafiq, and Richard Howlett, the trio’s XploR smart cane can detect faces from up to roughly 33 feet away. The cane will match faces with images stored on the cane’s internal storage with facial recognition technology. If there’s a match, the cane will vibrate and guide users towards their loved ones with an ear piece and audio guidance software. The software will communicate with the ear piece via Bluetooth, while GPS is also implemented to help with navigation.

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For Adigbo, such a project hits close to home, since his grandfather is someone who could benefit from it. “My grandfather is blind, and I know how useful this device could be for him,” said Adigbo. “The smart cane incorporates facial recognition technology to alert the user when they are approaching a relative or friend.”

Adigbo also says there’s nothing quite like this, a statement that rings true when looking at the various uses of facial recognition technology. Microsoft’s prototype comes the closest to the ICT students’ project, though Microsoft’s implementation is more designed to help the blind with general navigation.

The students plan to show off the XploR for various organizations in Germany later this year, with the trio also planning to demo the cane itself, as well as its training and security features, at the Beacon Centre for the Blind in Wolverhampton, West Midlands, located in England.