Study looks at design of canes used by blind

KALAMZOO, Mich. (AP) — Three Western Michigan University professors are helping to study whether white canes used by blind and visually impaired people might benefit from a redesign.

The Kalamazoo Gazette reports (http://bit.ly/1iPOsLa ) the Dae Shik Kim, Robert Wall Emerson and Koorosh Naghshineh will study how to improve the ergonomic design and cane-use biomechanics to help cane users better detect obstacles and drop-offs while walking.

The hope is to help users avoid injuries. Research is being funded by a more than $421,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Kim, the project's principal investigator, says the long cane was developed during the 1940s and has changed little since then, partly due to lack of research. He says the 3-year project also will examine how to most effectively wield a cane to detect any obstacles.

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Information from: Kalamazoo Gazette, http://www.mlive.com/kalamazoo

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