Inspired by bats, this teen's invention is changing how blind people experience the world.

When he was 12 years old, Alex Deans watched a woman with a visual impairment struggle to cross a busy street.

Image via iStock.


After a short conversation with her, Alex decided to use his love of science to improve the way people with visual impairments get around in their communities.

He started from scratch, teaching himself how to program and connecting with coders and inventors from around the world in online chat rooms. He thought outside the box when he began to build his new device and found inspiration in nature for tackling the woman's problem in a new way.

It took over five years for Alex to complete his device, which he calls an iAid.

He spent three years working on the prototype and then another three years refining it.

But, boom! He made it happen.

Like the echolocation system bats use, the iAid maps environments using sound waves.

Basically, the iAid is a belt with four sensors, attached to a small joystick.

When used inside , sound waves bounce off objects. The sensors communicate to a joystick, which pivots in the direction the user should go, allowing the person to navigate around obstacles without using a cane.

Images by Canada AM.

When used outside , the system uses GPS, Bluetooth, Google Maps, and a cloud service to send information to the user's smartphone, proving once again there really is an app for everything.

The iAid has received lots of positive feedback from testers at the Canadian National Institute for the Blind.

"One of the major things they said was the the device actually improved their confidence in navigation," Alex said in an interview with "Canada AM."

Alex was even named one of Canada's Future Leaders and recently took home the prestigious Weston Youth Innovation Award.

He hopes to use his new-found fame (and $2,000 in prize money) to continue improving the iAid. It's his goal to have the device on the market in two years.

Not bad for someone who's still in Grade 12.

Check out the iAid in action in this interview Alex did with Canada AM.

True

This year more than ever, many families are anticipating an empty dinner table. Shawn Kaplan lived this experience when his father passed away, leaving his mother who struggled to provide food for her two children. Shawn is now a dedicated volunteer and donor with Second Harvest Food Bank in Middle Tennessee and encourages everyone to give back this holiday season with Amazon.

Watch the full story:

Over one million people in Tennessee are at risk of hunger every day. And since the outbreak of COVID-19, Second Harvest has seen a 50% increase in need for their services. That's why Amazon is Delivering Smiles and giving back this holiday season by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Second Harvest to feed those hit the hardest this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local food bank or charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your selected charity.

Sometimes it seems like social media is too full of trolls and misinformation to justify its continued existence, but then something comes along that makes it all worth it.

Apparently, a song many of us have never heard of shot to the top of the charts in Italy in 1972 for the most intriguing reason. The song, written and performed by Adriano Celentano and is called "Prisencolinensinainciusol" which means...well, nothing. It's gibberish. In fact, the entire song is nonsense lyrics made to sound like English, and oddly, it does.

Occasionally, you can hear what sounds like a real word or phrase here and there—"eyes" and "color balls died" and "alright" a few times, for example—but it mostly just sounds like English without actually being English. It's like an auditory illusion and it does some super trippy things to your brain to listen to it.

Plus the video someone shared to go with it is fantastic. It's gone crazy viral because how could it not.

Keep Reading Show less
True

A lot of people here are like family to me," Michelle says about Bread for the City — a community nonprofit located in Washington DC that provides local residents with food, clothing, health care, social advocacy, and legal services. And since the pandemic began, the need to support organizations like Bread for the City is greater than ever, which is why Amazon is Delivering Smiles to local charities across the country this holiday season.

Watch the full story:

Amazon is giving back by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, and donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Bread for the City provide to those disproportionately impacted this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your charity of choice.
via Twins Trust / Twitter

Twins born with separate fathers are rare in the human population. Although there isn't much known about heteropaternal superfecundation — as it's known in the scientific community — a study published in The Guardian, says about one in every 400 sets of fraternal twins has different fathers.

Simon and Graeme Berney-Edwards, a gay married couple, from London, England both wanted to be the biological father of their first child.

"We couldn't decide on who would be the biological father," Simon told The Daily Mail. "Graeme said it should be me, but I said that he had just as much right as I did."

Keep Reading Show less
via Nick Hodge / Twitter and Jlhervas / Flickr

President-elect Joe Biden has sweeping plans for expanding LGBTQ rights when he takes office in January 2021. Among them, a plan to reverse Donald Trump's near ban on allowing transgender people to serve in the military.

In 2016, President Obama allowed transgender individuals to serve openly in the U.S. military and have access to gender-affirming psychological and medical care.

However, the Trump administration reversed course in 2017, when Trump dropped a surprise tweet saying the military "cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail."

Keep Reading Show less