Emilios Farrington-Arnas, a graduate of the University of Brunel, has designed a collection of portable devices that vibrate to guide visually impaired users to their destination, regardless of the disability range in which the person is. This device is called Maptic, which we could say, is a new portable system composed of different devices.
Being told that you have a lifelong, incurable eyesight problem is a terrifying prospect, one that is very difficult to come to terms with. For the visually impaired, retaining independence in day-to-day life is important, however, navigation can be a long-winded, potentially unsafe process, especially in new environments or at night. Simple tasks like travelling to work can become arduous and time consuming and more often than not, need planning beforehand.
How does Maptic work?
The operation is quite simple, the system has a sensor used as a collar and other portable objects such as bracelets or clothing accessories, based on a principle of feedback to detect different variables such as user height and different obstacles, this way, Maptic can identify objects that are at the level of the user’s chest, such as a barrier. The sensor connects to a voice controlled iPhone application, so it can use the GPS to direct the user. It does this through a series of vibrations to the left or right of the body.
This is an excellent alternative for those who don’t want to rely on voice notifications or headphones, which is often uncomfortable and causes insecurity to the user when performing their daily activities. With this combination of wearables, the user will have more intuitive notifications as they move around. Maptic could be a complement for those users who use the stick or similar solutions.
Based on his research, Farrington-Arnas believes that this is the most natural and reliable form of tactile instruction since people are accustomed to their phones vibrating in this way.
The Farrington-Arnas family has a history of poor eyesight, which is one of the reasons they embarked on this project. His experience taught him that one of the most important things to combat in a project like this is the stigma surrounding the use of assistive devices.
As a result, each Maptic device can be used discreetly and can also be customized.
Having a wearable system rather than a singular product allows for the user to select and tailor the devices to their daily needs
Do you want to know more? Visit the Emilios‘ website.