28.01.2018GDV leverages digital innovation

In early 2018, Committee for Melbourne member Guide Dogs Victoria (GDV) announced that it had been working with software firm ThoughtWorks, in a bid to use digital innovation to enhance lives.

Together, they have developed the ‘SensaCane’, enabling those with low vision or blindness to cross complex intersections without a Guide Dog. GDV Innovation Manager, John-Ross Barresi, came up with the idea after working with clients who routinely had issues with crossing major intersections.

General Manager of Client and Guide Dog Services, Alastair Stott, discusses the SensaCane prototype with ThoughtWorks engineer

This ‘smart cane’ prototype uses optical infrared sensors in the tip to detect white lines on the road and trigger vibration feedback to the user when veering off track. It is intended to provide the guidance needed to make intersection crossing easier and safer.

“While Guide Dog services represent 30 per cent of what we do, digital innovation has a big role to play in constantly improving our offering to clients to improve their quality of life”, said GDV’s General Manager of Client and Guide Dog Services, Alastair Stott.

Following extensive testing, the SensaCane is almost ready to go into production. GDV is currently seeking funding support for commercial production of the SensaCane prototype, with the aim of having the device available for its low vision and blind clients in the near future. If you are interested in helping please contact GDV’s Major Donor Relationship Manager, Tracy Purcell.

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