A matric student from Swat has invented “smart shoes” for visually impaired people that warn them with a sound or vibration about any obstacle on their path within a radius of 120 centimeters.
The 17-year-old told Arab News he had an interest in repairing and fixing damaged battery-operated toys and this is how he entered the world of innovation.
“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.”
Physics teacher Muhammad Farooq said Wasiullah was his most bright student and that he had planned to design a new type of wheelchair to help visually impaired people navigate their surroundings, but he could not afford its financial constraints.
Financial problems did not hold him back and he came up with “vibrating shoes” instead.
“I still believe he has the potential to emerge as a leading scientist if he gets proper coaching and opportunity,” Farooq said.
“Smart shoes for visually impaired people are available in foreign countries,” Farooq said. “But their prices are beyond the reach for many in Pakistan. The government should own the project because the shoes Wasiullah has made are comparatively cheaper and more affordable.”
Mian Sayed, a social activist from Swat, has seen Wasiullah’s smart shoes and is positive that they could even become an export product.
Wasiullah said the price of a pair of his smart shoes can be fixed at Rs4,500 ($26), but he would not be able to manage production himself as he also needs to finance his studies himself.
An opportunity may come from the local government.
Sajid Shah, head of the provincial directorate general of science, told Arab News the shoes will soon be evaluated by experts.
“After evaluation by our scientists,” he said, “our department will promote the project of smart shoes invented by Wasiullah for commercial purposes.”