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ERIC Number: EJ972700
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Jan
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 14
ISSN: ISSN-0145-482X
Effect of Cane Length on Drop-Off Detection Performance
Kim, Dae Shik; Emerson, Robert Wall
Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness, v106 n1 p31-35 Jan 2012
Although individuals who are blind have used a stick or a cane for their independent travel since the early years of human history, designs for modern long canes did not appear until World War II, when the systematic long cane techniques were developed by Hoover (1962). Ergonomic factors, such as the length of the cane, may affect how well a cane user can detect the presence of obstacles and changes in surface elevation, including drop-offs. How the length of a cane may affect the detection of drop-offs is of particular interest because there appear to be different opinions on this matter among cane users. According to the traditional method (called the "sternum method"), a proper cane length is defined as the vertical distance from the ground to 2 inches above the xiphoid process (La Grow & Weessies, 1994). In a study conducted with 10 adult cane users who were visually impaired (that is, those who were blind or had low vision), Rodgers and Wall Emerson (2005) reported that the use of a standard-length cane, measured by the sternum method, allowed the users to detect drop-offs significantly better than with the canes that were either 5%-15% shorter or 10%-20% longer than the standard length. However, some cane travelers have advocated for a cane that is substantially longer than the standard length. In this study, the authors investigated whether the length of the cane affects the detection of drop-offs. They also examined whether there is an interaction between the length of a cane and the depth of a drop-off. (Contains 2 figures.)
American Foundation for the Blind. 11 Penn Plaza Suite 300, New York, NY 10001. Tel: 800-232-5463; Tel: 212-502-7600; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Michigan