As if it were Siri or Alexa but hidden in the traditional white cane for the blind. Just talk to the device and listen to its instructions to understand if, for example, the bus is coming or if the traffic light is green. This is what Letismart does, a device that will allow visually impaired people to orient themselves and interact with the urban environment by moving independently. A system that can be placed in strategic points such as crossroads, traffic lights, bus stops, offices, shops but also tourist sites, hospitals, schools for smart cities that are increasingly inclusive and close to the most fragile people. The city of Trieste is the national forerunner, where the device was conceived, developed and adopted and from which the path of implementation on a national scale begins at the behest of theItalian Union of the Blind and Visually Impaired (Uici) which has taken LETIsmart as a national reference standard by signing a development partnership agreement with the Trieste-based company that carries it out.
How LETIsmart works
By affixing a tiny microchip weighing just 8 grams, the system allows the traditional white stick to communicate with the different points of interest and to communicate with the environment under different aspects: from identification and interaction with public transport and traffic lights, orientation in shops, schools, offices, including the management of difficult situations: work in progress, emergency exits and any other point that must be identified and reached with precision. “With this system, the autonomy of the blind really makes a significant step forward”, commented the president of Uici, Mario Barbuto. “Technology is one of the most important keys to improving the quality of life of people with visual disabilities, to be combined with those traditional elements such as the white cane and guide dog for mobility and the Braille method for education and reading, which remain irreplaceable “.
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A technology within everyone’s reach
The solution uses beacons technology and provides information with an integrated loudspeaker, without the need for smartphones or other electronic tools. For this reason, LETIsmart is within everyone’s reach and can be perfectly integrated with commonly used orientation tools such as tactile-plantar systems, the white cane or guide dog for the blind, but exponentially increases the capacity for autonomy and autonomous movement. of the blind, and also in the case of motor disabilities or in reduced visibility conditions, because it lights up when it gets dark.
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An Italian invention that excites
The high-tech device was created by the Trieste-born Marino Attini, expert in visually impaired electronics, and implemented as an ethical project by SCEN, a world leader in lean prototyping with electronic micro-components. The development of the LETIsmart system represents an example of made in Italy innovation and corporate social responsibility that also has behind it a human history and of restitution to the community that touches the heart. “I only had an idea, simple but sincere, to help others: so was Letizia and so is LETIsmart. I thank life and all those who have supported me in this path by believing in it “, said Marino Attini who wanted to make his technical skills available in a way that could help people with visual impairment, like him, but also remember the wife Letizia, who passed away after more than thirty years of life together. The acronym LETI (Light Engine and Tag Informations) from which the device takes its name fits perfectly with this tribute.
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1 test partners Uici
After being tested and adopted in Trieste, the system becomes national best practice thanks to the involvement of the Italian Union of the Blind and Visually Impaired (Uici), the largest national association that represents the requests of about 2 million blind and partially sighted Italian citizens. The Uici supported, together with the Lions Club Trieste Host and the Trieste Miramar, the initial phases of the project and then validated the technology as a reference standard at national level and signed a non-profit partnership protocol with the SCEN for the development, dissemination and promotion of LETIsmart technology throughout the national territory. With this Agreement, the Uici also undertakes to provide full collaboration for the phases of experimentation, tests and technical checks to improve the efficiency and reliability of the system and to make it known to its members through the 107 territorial sections, providing all the informative assistance of the case.
Where it will be available
In addition to the city of Trieste and the activation on the public transport of the Region, the LETIsmart system will soon be available in other realities, including Mantua and Como, the tourist site of Paestum, the Civil Protection campuses in Tuscany, Bocconi University and the center of some cities such as Milan, Matera, Padua, Turin and Florence.