Technology Innovator Anirudh Sharma talks how his invention LeChal shoes, for people with Visual Impairment, today has become a global lifestyle product.
It would have been as life as usual for the techie in Anirudh Sharma, then working for HP Labs near Koramangala Bengaluru, hadn’t it been for a chance encounter with person with visual impairment who asked him for directions to a sweet shop. Anirudh gave this person verbal instructions while the person was expecting Anirudh to lead him to the shop. This got Anirudh thinking about how best the technology could help people with visual impairment navigate in their day to day lives. Back in office, when he shared this experience with his co-workers, the advice he got was to ‘step into the shoes of the blind’ and experience things from their perspective. Anirudh took their advice, literally, and built a prototype of a shoes with vibration motors that one’s feet could feel which were controlled by a micro-controller chip. This smart shoe prototype later became the globally renowned LeChal shoes. LeChal went on to win a lot of global accolades and today is a lifestyle product and people from all walks of life have started adopting it. In Anirudh’s view, the solutions to many of our problems are available if we look at them with an inter-disciplinary approach. LeChal shoes was a combination of haptic feedback that people with visual impairment relied on aided by technology and mobility. Today, Anirudh is incorporating this inter-disciplinary approach of LeChal to problems around us like reducing air pollution.
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About Anirudh Sharma:
Anirudh Sharma has co-founded Ducere Technologies Pvt. Ltd. in 2011 to bring, LeChal – the electronic shoes for the visually impaired to the market, which evolved as a fashion product. This shoe won him an MIT TR35 –‘Innovator of year’ award. He has co-led the MIT Media Lab India Initiative for last two years, where he has worked on creating innovation ecosystem in India. Before that, he has worked at Imagin Group, at Hewlett Packard Labs, an intuitive open-source speech+ touch based CAD interface for large displays. His prototype ‘MozArt’ is a permanent installation at HP Innovation Centre at Zurich and Dubai. He is open to collaborate and consult with practitioners and industries alike- if they’ve anything to do with keywords like wearable, sci-fi, inventive, assistive, interactive, open-source, sensorial, haptic, multimodal.
Anirudh can be found on #freenode, IRC with nickname: touchaddict
Follow Anirudh on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/touchaddict
Follow Anirudh on Twitter: https://twitter.com/touchaddict
Ducere Technologies website: https://www.duceretech.com/