Combining a Wiimote and a walking stick

Sometimes I wonder if some things can really be upgraded using technology. Take the walking stick that blind people use, for example. It's pretty straightforward — you simply hold it in front of you to make sure you don't bump into things. Not much needs improvement there.

But hey, why not give it a shot, right? That's the idea behind the Tactile Wand, which is basically a Wiimote for blind people. Its small enough to fit in a purse and it uses a distance sensor to recognize objects in front of you. It vibrates when it senses an oncoming obstacle, with the vibrations getting more intense as it approaches. Fair enough, I guess, but just what was wrong with the walking stick again? It'll never run out of batteries, after all.

Project Page, via Gadget Lab