Riya Karumanchi is making a meaningful impact on the visually impaired community through her high-tech assistive device, SmartCane. This integration of a typical walking cane with high-tech sensory adaptations including GPS navigation, light and wetness sensors, location tracking, panic buttons, and audio assistance. Riya explains, “the reason that we chose to incorporate the technology on the cane was that if it failed to work, we wouldn’t be putting the user at risk”. This innovative approach to walking canes was first showcased at the BASEF (the Bay Area Science and Engineering Fair) school fair, winning first prize! Since then, SmartCane has continued to catch the hearts of panelists as it continues its’ winning reign with People’s Choice Award in Hacking Health Hackathon, and first place in HackABILITY, a hackathon organized by ICUBE to create technology-related solutions for our communities. ICUBE is a entrepreneurship startup incubator based at the University of Toronto Mississauga. Riya has worked alongside ICUBE for the past year in preparation for the 2018 PITCH Competition, by which SmartCane won runner up.
“It was more than just a science fair project for me—I really wanted to improve the lives of the visually impaired.” Reflecting on how far SmartCane has come, the source of Riya’s success stems from her genuine perseverance on helping the quality of life for visually impaired individuals.
Want to read more about Riya’s journey? Check out this recent article about her experience in e-health solutions.