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"Mask-wearing was one of the most assiduously policed protocols; even mid-row offenders were publicly shamed by being immediately targeted with a red laser pointer, which must have felt like being in the sights of a sniper."
From the New York Times
COMMENTARY FROM LASERPOINTERSAFETY.COM
This is an interesting practical use for laser pointers. Of course ushers should only use a low-powered "bullet" type pointer like those sold in pet stores, that take two or three hearing-aid style batteries. Care should be taken to avoid the eyes. If the beam from a small Class 2 (less than 1 milliwatt) laser accidentally goes into a person's eyes, there would be a bright flash but no injury or damage.
According to the manufacturer, "Path Finder is a shoe attachment that provides visual laser cues for patients suffering from Freezing of Gait (FoG), a symptom of Parkinson’s (PD) and other neurological disorders, severely impacting gait and quality of life. These visual laser cues are in the form of horizontal lines, prompting the individual to take steady steps with both feet, one after another. This hands-free device is meant for individuals with unsteady gait, and can be used to gain confidence, regain mobility, prevent falling and improve quality of life."
It uses a green Class 2 laser, meaning the light is considered safe for normal operation. According to LaserSafetyFacts.com's page on Class 2 lasers, "It normally would not harm an eye unless a person deliberately stared into the beam."
The idea for Path Finder came to inventor Lise Pape in 2014, after watching her father struggle with Parkinson's. She became aware that visual cues such as lighted canes had been used with some success to help trigger a normal step response. She started work on a prototype in 2014, and the product came to market in 2017.
It has won more than fifteen awards, including the AXA Health Tech and You Award in the UK in 2016 and Vodafone TechStarter in the UK in 2019.
Story from Digital Health with information from the Path Finder website and news blog.