The innovative ‘Smart Sticks’ creation by some pupils at Regina Pacis Secondary School, Onitsha in Anambra State, has been hailed as a success by members of the visually challenged community.
The pupils created a smartphone application called the Fake Drug (FD) detector to assist combat counterfeit pharmaceutical items in Nigeria; also, they received the Junior Gold Awards at the World Technovation Challenge in the United States of America in 2018.
Again, young ladies from the school have shone as innovators in robotics and coding. They invented smart sticks that can detect obstacles not less than 120 centimetres away from a blind person.
Speaking at the introduction of the ground-breaking innovation, Chibuzor Obierika, said that the invention has advanced from its initial trial. Chibuzor is the youth coordinator for the Nigeria Association of the Blind (NAB), Anambra State.
“After building this project, we noticed it could only sense obstacles horizontally in front of the blind man, so we decided to advance this project. The Smart Sticks can now sense objects from an angle of elevation and an angle of depression,” she said.
“The Smart Sticks are designed with an input ultrasonic sensor that alerts a blind person of an obstacle not less than 120 centimetres ahead of him or her.
The move is in line with the state government mandate to support innovations among young talent.
Their invention was displayed during the pastoral visit of the Metropolitan Archbishop of the Onitsha Diocese, Most Reverend Valerian Okeke.
The Smart Sticks were reviewed by some visually impaired persons at the event to show the product’s effectiveness.
“I feel very much elated. In today’s society, visually impaired people have gone past the era of being perceived as being incapable of contributing to societal development,” one member of the blind community said.
“These Smart Sticks would go a long way in helping them live a life of independence.”