Each year, product design, industrial design, and engineering students around the world vie for the James Dyson Award, given to the individual or team with the most innovative product design. This year's entries ranged from an irrigation system to a room divider and also included several medical electronics.
One of the runner-up products is BlindSpot, a smart cane designed to help people with visual impairments. The cane features an ultrasonic sensor to help users detect obstacles. It can also help them locate their friends with a tactile GPS, using data culled from social networking sites and communicated through a Bluetooth headset.
Other entries aimed at the visually and audibly impaired include Approaching Armband, a wearable device designed to help users become more aware of their surroundings, and Mobile Lorm Glove, a translation device that helps deaf or blind users communicate. Cochlear Revolve improves on cochlear implants, a medical technology that's been around for years. It's modular system allows patients with cochlear implants to upgrade components piecemeal as the technology improves.
Intelliwheels AGS is an automatic gearshift system for wheelchairs.
Bloodtouch is a tool for remote patient monitoring. It can perform pregnancy, HIV, and malaria tests, facilitate a teleconference with a healthcare professional, provide information on health conditions, and even remind users to take their medicine.
You can browse all the entries via the James Dyson Award Web site.