An inherent interest in haptics, a chance meeting with a visually-impaired acquaintance, a vague notion to rethink the way the visually-challenged navigate all germinated in the creation of Lechal.
The journey has taken five years, 15 prototypes, a core team of over a 100, and countless hours of hard work sprinkled with a few eureka moments to get to the final product. Through it all has been a commitment to and an inspiration from that first meeting and call to action. The white cane, the most commonly-used assistive device by the visually-impaired, has changed little in more than a 100 years even as technology has leap-frogged centuries. Our challenge was to find a simple solution to a problem few had thought to tackle and our answer lay in haptics or the technology of touch. With haptics as our chosen medium, we grappled with form, finally settling on footwear, setting the stage for a ground-breaking product for everyone.
Lechal's design, engineering and manufacturing is most inventive in its commitment to accessibility. Due to its unique origins, the concepts of universal use and inclusive design are at the core of Lechal's ideation and execution. More than mere concepts, these are fundamental principles around which the product is built. Every design idea, every prototype, every proposed solution to every problem is weighed against one simple but core question - is it inclusive?
Lechal's most innovative features, certainly its best ones, stem from answering that one question. And in constantly asking and answering that question, we found ourselves focusing on the user and user-friendliness in the most revelatory and revolutionary ways.
India has the highest population of visually-impaired people in the world according to the World Health Organization. An astounding one out of every four cases of visual impairment are found in India. So, keeping Lechal's vision and mission in mind, we launched the Lechal Initiative in partnership with world-renowned L.V. Prasad Eye Institute.
A portion of the sale proceeds of every pair of Lechal footwear goes towards subsidizing a pair for a visually-challenged person. If you would like to contribute to the Initiative or suggest an organisation we can partner with, please contact us.
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