The Lechal system lets the wearer know which direction to turn while walking, and when.
The system for Lechal was originally developed in 2011 as a navigational shoe for the visually-impaired. Designed by MIT graduate Anirudh Sharma, the Lechal shoe was designed to provide haptic feedback to the user to let him or her know where to go. Vibrations in the shoe would inform the user when and where to make turns while they are walking.
Since the conception of that first prototype shoe, Sharma co-founded Ducere Technologies with his friend Krispian Lawrence, a graduate of University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
The company has recently announced the launch of Lechal shoes and insoles that are designed to help people navigate the streets on their own. Lechal insoles can be placed inside any type of shoes to make them interactive, while Lechal shoes already have the system integrated in them. Both communicate with the user’s smartphones via Bluetooth and through an accompanying app.
The shoes and the insoles are made with antibacterial and washable materials, and come with a two-battery USB charger. Lechal footwear, which cost US $100 a pair, can be pre-ordered through the brand website starting March 7th.
Lechal products are currently being tested at the L.V. Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad to see if they are effective as an assistive device. Ducere is also subsidizing a pair of Lechal footwear to a visually-challenged person for every pair of Special Edition Lechal footwear sold.
Watch the video below for a demo of the product.