Lighthouse Tech: Vibrational guidance for visually impaired @ CES 2024 - Show Notes

Lighthouse Tech: Vibrational guidance for visually impaired @ CES 2024

Saturday Mar 16, 2024 (00:11:12)


On a normal day, most of us employ all of our senses to navigate through the world. However, for the visually impaired and the blind, that is not possible. The unique experience of navigating without being able to see the complete world around them creates hazards that others do not face. This is the problem that Lighthouse Tech is trying to solve.

Smart eyewear frame for the blind

Lighthouse Tech, a Swiss startup, has developed an innovative smart eyewear frame designed to assist blind and low-vision individuals. The device employs soft vibrations on the temples to alert the wearer of obstacles above the waist area, enabling users to navigate more safely and freely without colliding with low-hanging obstacles. Importantly, the device does not obstruct users' hearing, a critical sense for those with visual impairments.

The smart eyewear frame operates by integrating various sensors embedded in the temples that actively identify objects in the user's vicinity. It alerts users to obstacles, like high tables, that might be overlooked by the traditional white cane. The device is self-contained and comes with a setup app that allows users to adjust vibration intensity and distance settings. It is designed to be user-friendly and requires no learning curve.

Established nearly two and a half years ago, Lighthouse Tech showcased prototypes at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) the previous year. The company is now poised for production and plans to launch in the summer, initially in Europe, followed by the US, Japan, and South Korea. The device is priced at approximately $1,500, but Lighthouse Tech is collaborating with insurance companies and organizations such as the Veterans Association for the Blind to help defray costs for users.

Smart glasses with advanced features

The smart glasses developed by Lighthouse Tech are equipped with a range of advanced features, making them an invaluable tool for individuals with visual impairments. They have the ability to make emergency calls, detect falls, and identify when the glasses are damaged or not being worn correctly. These features offer users added safety and security, providing peace of mind as they navigate their surroundings.

Another notable feature of the smart glasses is their long battery life. The rechargeable battery can last for two to three days, allowing users to wear them throughout the day and charge them at night. This ensures that the glasses are always ready for use, eliminating the worry of running out of power.

The design of the smart glasses is also commendable. They are designed to be worn like regular glasses, with customizable lenses to suit individual needs. This design eliminates any social awkwardness associated with wearing bulky assistive devices, enabling users to feel comfortable and confident while using the technology.

Conclusion: Tactile feedback gives safer navigation

Lighthouse Tech has received positive feedback at events such as CES. The significant press coverage and interest from visitors indicate a growing demand for innovative assistive technologies that can enhance the lives of individuals with disabilities.

In summary, Lighthouse Tech's smart eyewear frame offers a unique and innovative solution for blind and low vision individuals, enabling them to navigate their surroundings more safely and independently. The device's ability to detect obstacles and alert users through temple vibrations underscores the potential of assistive technologies to enhance the quality of life for individuals with visual impairments. As technology advances and the focus on assistive tech grows, devices like the smart eyewear frame are leading the way towards a more inclusive and accessible future.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Scott Ertz

Host, Episode Author

Scott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLUGHITZ Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the rhythm game community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bay Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and helping with ROBOTICON Tampa Bay. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors, currently housed at AMRoC Fab Lab.


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