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Front. Educ. | doi: 10.3389/feduc.2019.00044

Wearable Cane and App System for Improving Mobility in Toddlers/Preschoolers with Visual Impairment

 Grace V. Ambrose-Zaken1*, Mohamad FallahRad2, Henry Bernstein2,  Robert Wall Emerson3 and  Marom Bikson2
  • 1Hunter College (CUNY), United States
  • 2Department of Biomedical Engineering, The City College of New York, United States
  • 3Western Michigan University, United States

Abstract
Children with congenital visual impairment (SVI&B) are at greater risk of developing delays in motor and other developmental domains. This report describes a series of experiments conducted to evaluate a novel wearable cane and mobile application system prototype. The wearable cane and application system was tested on ability to a) provide hands-free autonomous arc able to detect obstacles, level & surface changes; b) integrate into indoor/outdoor activities of a specialized preschool for learners with SVI&B; and c) be adopted by families, professionals and learners with SVI&B as a safe mobility solution. Stakeholders and children under five with SVI&B evaluated the prototype system. Results: The project successfully created a hands-free wearable white cane that provided students with SVI&B under age five with next step warning when walking across a variety of terrain. Preschool participants with SVI&B easily adopted the wearable cane into their activities with minimal to no prompting or instruction. The P20 prototype scored well across usability features, including maintaining consistent, hands-free, autonomous arc. The invention of a hands-free mobility tool was a significant outcome of this project. These data support that autonomous arc has the ability to provide developmentally appropriate safe mobility solution for toddlers with SVI&B.

Keywords: visually impaired, toddlers and preschool age pediatric populations, mobility, White cane, Safe mobility

Received: 20 Sep 2018; Accepted: 09 May 2019.

Edited by:

Graeme Douglas, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom

Reviewed by:

Rachel Hewett, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom
Onder Islek, Aksaray University, Turkey  

Copyright: © 2019 Ambrose-Zaken, FallahRad, Bernstein, Wall Emerson and Bikson. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Grace V. Ambrose-Zaken, Hunter College (CUNY), New York City, United States, gambrose@hunter.cuny.edu