It's obviously extremely difficult to navigate when you're blind, especially obstacles in the path of your upper body. But now there's Sunu Band, which uses a sonar sensor and haptic feedback to let the wearer know where things are.
The band emits a high-frequency ultrasound wave that bounces off objects and back to the band's sensors. The band can detect the strength of the wave's return and then sets off a vibration, which gets stronger or weaker based on how far away an object is.
Fernando Albertorio, one of the co-founders of Sunu, is legally blind and uses the device himself daily. In an interview with MIT Review, he said that he feels "much more confident moving around these spaces where normally" he'd be wondering where he's going. Thanks to the Band he can move around much faster.
For example, Albertorio has used the band to go on hikes and run 5Ks. He can also find the gap in between two objects, like a door or a small opening, and can even detect a crosswalk button at an intersection. The Band can also detect moving objects, like pedestrians, as they move toward and away from the wearer.
The Band can be synced to a smartphone via Bluetooth, and there's a companion app that allows you to customize the sensitivity of the vibrations. In the future, the company hopes to add the ability to customize how fast the wearer walks and add Google Maps integration. One thing to note: the device can work without a companion app and smartphone.
As for battery life, that's currently about four hours. The Sunu Band will begin shipping later this month for $299, though there's a special $249 pre-order price for the next 12 days on Sunu's website.
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