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Blind cyclists take to the track in Bristol

Up to 30 blind cyclists will ride round a cycle track in Bristol later this month guided by ultrasonic sensors fitted to their bikes.

Six bicycles – known as UltraBikes - have been fitted with sensors that detect obstacles in their path and provide directional feedback to their rider via vibrating buttons on either side of the handlebars.

The echo-location system is based on technology used in the UltraCane electronic white stick developed by Sound Foresight Technology.

The UltraCane copies the navigational abilities of bats and featured in the recent BBC series Miracles of Nature, presented by Richard Hammond.

The programme makers commissioned Sound Foresight Technology to fit the UltraCane technology onto a bike which was then ridden through a woodland path by a blind cyclist.

The Bristol event, called the Miracle of Science challenge, will be used to raise funds for cycling charity LifeCycle UK, which organises tandem rides for vision impaired people, among other activities.

There are no plans to make the UltraBikes available commercially, a spokesperson told Ability.

Readers who wish to take part in the Miracle of Science challenge need to pre-register their interest in advance. 

To register, obtain further information and sponsorship forms, email tandemrides@lifecycleuk.org.uk or call 0117 353 4580. 



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