A Boston based outfit has created a wearable that helps you navigate, the way bats navigate at night.
The award-winning product is like a ‘flashlight’ for close to 300 million visually impaired worldwide. Sunu Band combines ultra-sound technology and haptic feedback to help visually impaired better sense and navigate their environments. Essentially a Fitbit for the blind.
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The ultrasonic proximity sensor has a a range of 13 feet and provides real-time feedback at 30 frames per second. When it senses an object nearby, the wearable will vibrate thereby alerting the user. Sunu says, the device allows you to follow in a line with ease and maintain your personal space. It also helps you find doorways and thresholds, and enables you to smoothly navigate through crowded spaces.
The company’s co-founder Fernando Albertorio, who is legally blind, even ran the Boston 5K race earlier this year thanks to the wearable! Normally, visually impaired runners run alongside a guide who helps them navigate.
“I am going to be my own guinea pig,” Albertorio, said at the time.
“We have proven the Sunu Band in environments where the wearer is walking outdoors, assisting them in navigating around people and street obstacles, but never running in this concentrated an environment.”
The wearable can be paired to your phone by Bluetooth. The accompanying smartphone app allows you to tweak the settings, such as range, sensitivity and feedback. On a single charge, Sunu Band will keep going for around 12 hours.
Visual impairment at any level can cause difficulties with everyday activities such as driving, reading, socializing and walking. Started as a community service project at a Helen Keller School for blind children, the wearable is currently being used in schools for the blind in Mexico and prescribed in eye clinics in Massachusetts.
The band retails for $249 and is available for purchase on the manufacturer’s website.
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