SheHeroes Helping the Blind With Sound

Some of my favorite type of stories to share on the SheHeroes blog are ones that you might not hear about outside small local newspapers and newsletters, but thanks to the internet we can find stories of young SheHeroes doing SheHeroic things and share them with SheHeroes everywhere.I recently found one such story about a group of girls at St. Ursula’s academy in Toledo, Ohio. The story started last year when a group of girls who are member of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Club decided to do something for Reverend Ric Saelzler, Ursuline Sisters' chaplain who is blind and needed some assistance in getting around campus.

Last year the STEM Club came up with a sonic device to help Rev. Saelzler which they entered into the AbilityOne Network Design Challenge but missed out on the finals. This year they decided to make take their device to the next level.

After being inspired by Rev. Saelzler they decided that there ahead to be more that could be done to help visually impaired people in the workforce and who rely on public transportation. With some help from the people at the Sight Center of Northwestern Ohio they created the Pathway.

The pathway is an audio system that is activated by a key fob by clicking a button. When the user clicks the button it sets off a beacon, which could be placed at local bus stops and used within 300 feet.  The beacon would then set off audio prompts that lets the user finds its exact location. This would be extremely helpful to the visually impaired who may be able to find their way to the street a bus stop is located, but are unable to find it’s exact location due to the fact bus stops are often varied and can be found on either side of street.

The girls from St. Ursula’s STEM club entered the Pathway in this years AbilityOne Network challenge where they came in second place! This won the girls a trip to Washington D.C. and a check for $3,000. The girls plan to use the money to further develop the device and lower the price (which is currently $50) and begin marketing the Pathway to not only public transportation but to private businesses. They hope to see businesses install the device in front of their businesses to help blind patrons gain more independence getting around town.

Congratulations to these girls who are not only strong competitors in the world of STEM but who are truly working to making the world a better place.

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