First announced in 2015, the Sunu band is a wearable tech device that enhances the mobility for the visually impaired. It is the first blind-accessible wearable that combines sonar technology with precision haptic feedback, augments spatial awareness and navigation.
The Visually Impaired can now Feel Their Environment
Started as a community service project at a Helen Keller School for blind children in Mexico, the low vision aids allow the wearer to feel their environment with vibrations. “From my own experience, independent mobility for people living with impaired vision can be especially frustrating and stressful,” said Fernando Albertorio, Sunu’s CEO and co-founder, and a visually impaired entrepreneur. “The current aids in the market are simply too expensive, not intuitive and tend to label or stigmatize the user, causing many people to opt-out. A user-centered design creates functional, but discreet and intuitive devices.”
The Sunu team, who announced on their Indiegogo campaign that they won 2014 Gold Mass Challenge for assistive technology, is driven by the reality that visual impairment at any level can cause difficulties with everyday activities such as driving, reading, socializing and walking. The solution that they have come up with is a device with proximity sensors and haptic feedback (vibrations) that could assist the visually impaired to better sense objects in their path and navigate successfully.
With the ability to be used alongside other visually impaired products, like a cane or even a guide dog, the Sunu band also has an embedded 3 axis accelerometer that senses inclination so as to modulate the emitting ultrasonic wave. This allows the device to automatically adjust the range while pointing upwards, so it doesn’t detect obstacles way above head level (like ceiling lamps, fans or the ceiling itself) and only detect obstacles that can be a threat to the user.
When it comes to the specs, the Sunu band’s has an ultrasonic sensor, precision haptic driver and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). It also comes with a rechargeable battery that provides 4 hours (continuous sonar use) and up to 48 hours (watch mode). The band works alongside a smart mobile app that adds continuous functionalities and provides full customizability and control. Optimized with two different operating modes, for indoor and outdoor scenarios, the Sunu band has been designed to enable users to sense objects and obstacles within their environment.
The wearable tech band has been tested in partnership with various companies, to ensure that the wearer is able to own their environments. The Sunu Band price is $249.00 for another two weeks. After that, it will go for $299.00. Deliveries begin October 2017