Matt Murdock may have a new tool in his arsenal if a cane developed by researchers at Birmingham City University hits the market. What's so special about a cane for the blind? Well this cane allows those with visual impairments to recognize friends and family.

The "XploR" mobility cane uses a person's smartphone to recognize faces from up to 30 feet away. But that's not all: the cane also has GPS functionality to help the blind find their way around their city.

Steve Adigbo, one of the researchers responsible for the cane's invention, designed the cane in honor of one of his relatives.

"My grandfather is blind and I know how useful this device could be for him," says Adigbo. "The smart cane incorporates facial recognition technology to alert the user when they are approaching a relative or friend. There's nothing else out there like this at the moment."

The team has already demonstrated the cane at several other medical and science institutions and hope to show it off some more later this year. Researchers hope that a company or organization will pick it up for mass production so that the cane can soon change the lives of those it's meant to help.

The cane connects to a smartphone app that allows it to detect faces. When it detects a face that it recognizes from images stored on the phone's SD card, the cane vibrates. It will then guide its user to that person via audio through an accompanying Bluetooth ear piece.

So, it seems the cane gives those with visual impairments, Daredevil-like superpowers, at least when it comes to recognizing people in their immediate environments.

Researchers conducted a study of the cane at the Beacon Center for the Blind in the U.K. They hope to continue that research soon.

"We found that high-spec technology features were essential requirements for users, as well as the cane needing to be fairly lightweight and easy to use," says Waheed Rafiq, one of the researchers. "We'll be returning to the Beacon Centre later this year for people to test the product and also to highlight the training and security features of the cane."

And while we're thinking of Matt Murdock, the blind recently won another battle in the name of technology that's accessible: Netflix recently agreed to make its hit Marvel series Daredevil accessible to the blind by adding audio descriptions to the series and plans on following up with more of its original content.

[Photo Credit: Netflix]

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