Japanese conglomerate Honda has recently announced the development of “Ashirase”, an in-shoe navigation system to support people with visual impairments while walking.
Born out of the company’s new business creation program “Ignition”, the Ashirase is a navigation system comprising a smartphone app and a three-dimensional vibration device including a motion sensor, which is attached inside the shoe. Based on a route set with the app, the device vibrates to provide navigational cues; when the user should go straight, the vibrator on the front of the foot vibrates, and when the user is approaching a right or left turn, the vibrator on the right or left side vibrates accordingly.
the vibrators are aligned with the nerve layer of the foot making it easy to feel the vibration. the device uses data based on the user’s foot movement is made of soft material that maintains the original shape to limit any uneasiness for the user. with the concept of ‘navigation which enables safety and a relaxed state of mind for the visually impaired,’ ‘ashriase’ is being developed as a product that helps the users reach their destinations safely and have a more independent lifestyle.