An estimated 285 million people across the globe are visually impaired. Life isn’t easy for them and the challenges they face range from moving around independently, to getting fair employment opportunities and not being able to join the workforce due to mobility & confidence issues.
With a view to uplift and empower this community and enable them to lead more independent & enriched lives, Hunny Bhagchandani set up Ahmedabad-based social venture TorchIt along with Mohit Chelani in 2015.
One of their key offerings is Saarthi, an assistive mobility hand-held device that can be used by visually-impaired people to maneuver around obstacles they encounter on a day-to-day basis. “The device comes with “99.7% obstacle detection accuracy” in any scenario, ranging from 2 to 8 feet. The product is simplistic, ergonomically designed and is battery efficient, and It can do much more than the traditional cane could with GPS and GSM feature. It’s also priced economically at Rs 2,200 (USD 25) in order to seek affordability for low-income household users and to ensure that the maximum number of people are able to derive its benefits,” says Hunny.
Portable, economical and accurate device
The product is not only economical but highly accurate as well, and comes with precise sensors that can perceive obstacles and provided feedback in the form of a buzzing sound and vibrations. In addition, the device also has a powerful battery and microcontroller to make it more efficient and long-lasting.
“Coming from an engineering background, I always felt the urge to serve the community with my technical understanding. During my social internship at the Blind People’s Association (Gujarat), I saw how an inaccurate assistive device almost caused one of my visually-impaired friends his life. On that day, I decided to help out my visually-impaired friends and eventually came up with a prototype that got converted to an MVP. Now our product helps out more than 12,000 visually impaired people across Gujarat,” says Hunny.