Young Pakistani student from Swat invents ‘smart shoes’ to help the visually impaired PESHAWAR: A young Pakistani student from the scenic Swat valley in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province has invented “smart shoes” for visually impaired people, designed to warn them about an obstacle within a radius of 120 centimeters with a sound or vibration.
Seventeen-year-old Wasiullah, who goes by a single name, is a Grade-10 student who said that he entered the world of innovation by repairing and fixing damaged toys, powered by electric batteries.
One of his teachers testified to his technical bent, saying the young student also made several gadgets in his school lab. “Visually impaired people will no longer need walking sticks or guides after smart shoes acquire popularity,” Wasiullah said. “The shoes are fixed with ultrasonic sensor and Arduino board to keep blind people safe while they are walking. Such individuals can get prior notification of any looming hindrance.”
Wasiullah said a pair of smart shoes could cost about Rs4,500, adding it was not possible for him to formally market them since he was even finding it difficult to fund his college education.
Sajid Shah, the head of KP Directorate General of Science and Information Technology, told Youth times that his department really appreciated the student for the invention, and it would encourage and support him to further develop the project.
He said his department has a separate wing of scientists with expertise in different fields, who evaluate inventions by individuals.
“After evaluation by our scientists, our department will promote the project of smart shoes invented by Wasiullah for commercial purposes,” Shah said. The 17-year-old Swat resident told Youth times his father had recently passed away and his two elder brothers were daily-wagers.
Muhammad Farooq, his physics teacher, described Wasiullah as his most brilliant student, who often asked tricky questions during the lectures.
“Wasiullah used to work with me in the lab on different assignments,” he said. “I still believe he has the potential to emerge as a leading scientist if he gets proper coaching and opportunity.”
Farooq said his student had initially been planning to improve the white cane or invent a wheelchair for visually impaired people. Instead, he decided to focus on the shoes due to financial constraints.
Mian Sayed, a social activist from the Swat region, said he personally observed the smart shoes, which could be polished further with a little modification to formally introduce in the market.
“I knew Wasiullah who is one of the brilliant students and can bring laurels for the country. The shoes invented by him can even be exported if the project is owned by the government,” Sayed added.
Wasiullah maintained he wanted to get higher education in the field of science and technology while hoping that the government would sponsor and promote his “smart shoe project.”
“Smart shoes for visually impaired people are available in foreign countries,” Farooq informed. “But their prices are beyond the reach for many in this country. The government should own the project because the shoes Wasiullah has made are comparatively cheaper and more affordable.”