The weWALK is a smart cane for blind pedestrians, with ultrasonic sensors to detect obstacles ahead and Google Maps connections to navigate through and describe the surrounding area. Plus: if you like pickles, the Big Dill festival is back this weekend in Baltimore.

Blind inventor creates ‘smart cane’ that uses google maps to navigate visually impaired people (designboom)

Baltimore’s Little-Known Pickle History Celebrated at New Festival (Baltimore Magazine)

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I’m a big fan of smart technology, connected appliances, what we sometimes call the Internet of Things.

They’re always interesting, even if not always that practical. A camera in my toaster oven is neat, whether or not I actually need one.

Well, here’s a device that’s about as smart and practical as it gets. It’s called the weWALK, and it’s a smart cane for blind pedestrians.

The designer, Kursat Ceylan, knew what to include in this cane because he uses a cane. It’s got ultrasonic sensors to detect obstacles ahead, and it vibrates to warn users ahead of those obstacles.

But there’s more. A weWALK user can pair the device with a smartphone, which can then connect to Google Maps. As a person walks through an area, the connected device can not only navigate to a destination, but describe the surroundings – what stores are in the area, are there interesting buildings on this block, things like that. Eventually it could even say which train platform you’re on, or which bus is pulling up to the curb. Useful and inclusive stuff.

And it shares a name with a song by the band REM, which is always a plus in my book.

It should be a pretty interesting weekend in Baltimore, at least if you like pickles. The Big Dill festival is back. There will be pickle barbecue sauce, pickle flavored beer to wash it down, pickle vodka with brine in it – which is sort of the cause of and solution to hangovers all at once – and, somehow, pickle cupcakes.

If this arouses your appetite or your curiosity, know that you will need a pickle pass to get in.