Map your route, then put the phone away and let your soles do the talking, buzzing left and right to keep you on track. At International CES, we spoke to the company's US-rep and got to the bottom of Lechal's access-friendly tech.
Can you talk us through how the soles work?
Ducere Technologies is a company based in India and they've created Lechal insoles in footwear, their primary function is for navigation.
The way that it works is that your Lechal app actually syncs with Google Maps through Bluetooth, you type in the address of where you want to go then you can put your phone in your pocket and start walking.
When you reach a street corner, let's say, if you need to make a left, your left insole will buzz, that way you know that it's time to go left. It would do the same if you had to go right. Let's say you made a mistake and you need to make a u-turn, it would send you a different buzz.
On top of the navigation, it's also a fitness wearable. The way that it works is that it just sends the information over to the app and it counts your steps, tells you how many calories you've burned and then you can quantify your progress over time because it shows charts.
That's cool but our interest typically aligns with people who don't have access -
It all started that way, actually. In India there's a very large population of visually-impaired people so they actually started this company to help the visually-impaired. The entire navigation system is meant to supplement the white cane, the iconic symbol of the visually impaired.
For every pair that is bought- because now that there is a more global outreach with the fitness app- for every pair of the insole or pair of shoes that are bought, a pair is subsidized for the blind.
How long has the product been around?
Actually, they are still available for pre-order and the actual units are going to be shipping out in March.
In terms of the beta users, have any blind people been going out using the devices?
Not yet, only testers.
Final question, if you personally could solve one of the world's big problems after you leave CES today, if you had unlimited resources, to what would you commit?
The water crisis. Cleaner water for everyone.
Lechal means "Take Me Along" in Hindi - to track the company, which has labeled itself the world's first interactive haptic feedback footwear company, click here.