The crosswalk in front of the Ohio State School for the Blind features "smart paint" that helps the visually impaired safely cross the road. The white stripes of the crosswalk feature an innovative paint that is designed to work with a smart tip cane. The cane will vibrate as it touches the painted crosswalk in an attempt to make the road safer for the blind. This new paint technology greatly increases the safety of the crossing, as blind people usually have to rely on the sound of parallel traffic rushing by them to stay oriented.
The smart paint uses rare-earth nanocrystals that emit a unique light signature. The smart cane works with this unique light signature, thanks to a specialized tip, and activates when in a certain proximity to the paint. Development of this smart paint was originally done for autonomous cars, but when the researchers realized the paint could also help the blind, they quickly changed focus.