Displayed at the Mobile World Congress this week, Fujitsu’s “New Generation Cane” is a futuristic walking stick that’s packed with Bluetooth, GPS, Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity. Potentially ideal for older grandparents, Fujitsu has built an array of LED lights into the top of the cane that display information related to the correct direction. Assuming a location has been programmed into the PC application that comes with the cane, the top of the cane will display green arrows when the person is walking in the correct location.
If the user takes a wrong turn on the trip, the LED lights will transition to red and the cane will start vibrating to indicate an error. The user can look down at the display and watch the large green arrows guide them back to the correct direction. In addition, the GPS functionality and cellular connectivity can be used to track the user’s walking path through the Web application.
Beyond directional help, the cane also includes a variety of sensors that measure the temperature and humidity of the surrounding environment as well as the heart rate of the user. Hypothetically, a relative could monitor the health of the user and reprogram the device remotely to divert them to a location to rest and cool off. This could also be useful in the hospital environment, specifically for monitoring people that are encouraged to get out of bed and walk around the building for light bouts of exercise.
At the moment, the current prototype has a battery life between two to three hours. Fujitsu will likely need to extend the battery life in future iterations of the cane, however Fujitsu could simply encourage users to limit the cane’s use to sporadic outings rather than everyday use. Fujitsu did not announce a price on the advanced device and there’s no information on a launch date at this time. As with any device in the prototype stage, it’s entirely possible that the cane won’t be manufactured.
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