Narrator: This is Science Today. A computer engineer at the University of California , Santa Cruz has developed what's called a virtual white cane, which is an assisted technology device for the blind. Roberto Manduchi says in its ultimate form, the device would look like a flashlight and would be carried by the blind to help navigate their surroundings.
Manduchi: If you talk with blind people, they love the white cane, so its not clear if well be able to replace that. The white cane is very economical, it never runs out of power, you can fold it and put in your pocket. Being white, it is something that allows other people to notice you and therefore to behave accordingly.
Narrator: But, Manduchi adds that the white cane does have its limitations; it bumps into things and cannot navigate at a distance.
Manduchi: So if I'm in an unknown environment and I'd like to know where the door is, or where the staircase is, that white cane is not going to help us. The device were building has much longer range, it is not invasive, it doesn't bump into things. So, it does have a number of features that the white cane doesn't have.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.