Wearable trackers/bracelets are becoming a way of life. They come in all shapes and forms (and costs) and are fairly affordable. However, how does a blind person use one? Also, can a wearable tracker be used by visually impaired people for doing something totally different – like maybe help them navigate by sensing obstructions and finding misplaced items for them?
Sunu Band is an innovative wearable that is designed specially for visually impaired people. Unlike other bracelets, Sunu has a proximity sensor that detects objects in the environment using ultrasonic technology. As a person is navigating around in their environment, Sunu emits ultrasonic waves that hit and bounce back from objects that are in the person’s path, and “echo” back to Sunu, which results in a vibration. The closer the object, the more frequent vibrations are.
Sunu has two modes – indoor and outdoor. Indoor mode, which has a range of 8 feet, is more for detecting openings and exits in buildings, aisles in a supermarket, and spaces between people among other things. The outdoor mode, with a range of 13 feet, covers a wider area and enables the wearer to detect trash cans, hanging branches from trees, lamp posts, etc.
The band also comes with an attachment – Sunu Tag which is a beacon like device and works with the Band as well as smartphone app. The tag can be attached to any other object, be it a keychain, backpack, or anything else. The Band (or phone) vibrates when the object is nearby and an alarm on the Tag emits a sound which makes finding objects easier. If the wearer is leaving something behind, Sunu can alert them about that too. Sunu also has a haptic clock that tells time through vibrations.
Watch this video to see what all Sunu can do.
Sunu is a simple wearable but can make navigation and daily living much easier for visually impaired people. Just wearing it while being out and about can help the wearer understand their surrounding and improve awareness, avoid collisions with objects, and also find misplaced items without help from anyone else.
Sunu is not available to everyone yet. Currently they have an Indiegogo campaign going to raise money so this bracelet could become a reality and reach to many visually impaired people. The Sunu team is also doing something philanthropic – for every $99 raised, Sunu will donate a Sunu Blind to a child living in a developing country.