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Tactile path information explained

Updated: Oct 12, 2020

Cane users the world over will tell you, it isn’t “if” the butt of the long cane stabs you in the belly- it’s “when” it happens… What happens is, the cane tip catches on an unexpected sidewalk crack and stops. Cane users who fail to notice and keep walking forward, feel the end of their canes bury into them with a force magnified by the speed of their travel.

Yet, the consequence of a cane handle belly punch is not enough of a reason to forgo the use of a rod cane, because tactile path information is essential to individuals who are mobility visually impaired or blind. The absence of the rod cane means the absence of tactile path information, and that is so dangerous as to prevent all inclinations of walking freely.

People who are blind and mobility visually impaired obtain three path previews using canes that allow them to safely navigate while walking and running.

The three previews. Tactile path information of the cane is broken down into three essential previews. These three previews are how the white cane user benefits from tactile path information.


The three previews are; elevation, surface and object.


Elevation preview is, most importantly, about locating the exact edge of a