Against the backdrop of flashy TV screens and futuristic cars, it's hard for a company to make an impression with a smart walking stick. But the Dring Smartcane, from French startup Nov'in, made its mark at CES this year. The company wants to bring the centuries-old mobility tool into the digital age with motion sensors. Geared toward the elderly and people with low mobility, the cane has a built-in accelerometer and gyroscope to track the user's movements.
In addition to movement sensors, the Smartcane also has an alert system that connects directly to the GSM network. In case of a fall or emergencies, the cane can be used to send an alert to a caregiver, who can choose to respond with a signal so the cane user knows help is on the way. The data collected from the cane is sent to a secure server. Artificial intelligent algorithms process the data to understand a user's habits and movements to deduce low activity, tiredness and other changes in walking patterns that can be linked to a deteriorating condition.
To find the right design that could contain the technology and still be lightweight and ergonomic, the French company turned to Maison Fayet, a century-old cane maker. The result is a simple polished cane that conceals the sensors in the grip. So people who are used to the traditional design will have no problem adopting a new connected device when it ships at the end of the year.