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Revolutionizing the Walking Cane: A Simple Design Gets a Hi-Tech Upgrade

Walking in a city can be like walking on a mine field for someone who is visually impaired. Traditional walking canes help detect obstacles on the ground, but what about obstacles that are higher? They present a different challenge—and one that SmartCane wants to tackle. Using ultrasonic ranging and vibration patterns, SmartCane serves as an enhancement to the classic walking cane by detecting dangling or above-knee-height obstacles. It creates spatial awareness and warns of possible contact with objects—and people—from a safe distance. This short film by Rintu Thomas and produced by Black Ticket Films and The Better India explores this powerful innovation.

The Short Film Showcase spotlights exceptional short videos created by filmmakers from around the world and selected by National Geographic editors. We look for work that affirms National Geographic's belief in the power of science, exploration, and storytelling to change the world. To submit a film for consideration, please email The filmmakers created the content presented, and the opinions expressed are their own, not those of National Geographic Partners.