A graduate of Brunel University has designed a discrete and smart wearable technology that makes it easier and safer for people with a visual impairment to get from A to B.


Emilios Farrington-Arnas, whose family includes people with poor eyesight, came up with the idea for a tactile hands free system he calls ‘Maptic’. It consists of three components; a sensor worn around the neck like a pendant and two feedback units on either side of the body. These can be worn as wrist bands or clipped to clothing. The sensor tracks the walker and detects any obstacles in the way that need to be avoided. The feedback units vibrate according to which direction the user needs to turn to in order to avoid colliding with things. A phone app connects with the pendant so you can put in a destination and receive directions through the vibrations, left or right, in the feedback units.


The main advantages of using Maptic over other systems are that you do not need to hold your phone for guidance as Maptic allows the user to keep their hands free to hold a white cane as well as other things. Where other systems use audio description to guide the user, Maptic leaves their hearing available to pay attention to their surroundings. The design is stylish and doesn’t look like a typical disabled adaptation either and can be worn proudly.


The following video gives you a bit of a clearer idea of how Maptic works…


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