Wearable guides: Medical devices for the visually impaired

May 20, 2021

STRAP Technologies, a technology company making items for the visually impaired, recently received $1.3 million in a round led by Platform Capital.  STRAP, based in Austin, Texas, has developed a wearable device which the company believes could replace the white cane used by the blind. STRAP Technologies was recently recognized as a finalist in the consumer products company of Fast Company’s 2021 World Changing Ideas Awards. 

Worn around the chest, the STRAP uses haptic sensors both in the device and on the straps holding the device to the user. The sensors deliver vibrations and other signals varying in intensity, pattern, and timing to alert the wearer to obstacles. 


Patents for wearables and medical devices for the visually impaired

We looked in Foundation at patents for wearables and medical devices for the visually impaired. What did we discover? There are many amazing products. Below are a few that we found in our patents database:

  1. Second Sight Medical Products Inc., based in Sylmar, Calif., has a visual prosthesis, which restores partial vision to those who have problems seeing due to outer retinal degeneration. This invention stimulates visual braille as a sensory substitution for reading written letters and words. It includes an electrode array implanted in the retina, a tiny camera placed on glasses, and a wearable computer.

  2. Toronto-based eSight Eyeware has a device for those with low vision. It uses the remaining photoreceptor function of the user’s eyes to stimulate synaptic activity. It also incorporates a camera, smart algorithms, and high resolution screens. Used together, this helps provide visual information to the brain. That information then helps compensate for gaps in the user’s field of vision.

  3. Wearworks, based in New York, has a wearable tactile navigation device that helps visually impaired people better navigate their surroundings. The company’s product is made up of the haptic device itself along with a printed circuit board, a battery, isolation pads, actuators, and a mobile electronic device. The mobile electronic device analyzes data from the vibrating haptic device and can then determine geographic position along with the user’s angle.

  4. Laguna Hills, Calif.-based Eyedaptic Inc. has glasses that allow those with visual challenges to enhance their vision. Eyedaptic’s glasses use simulated natural vision software technology to help users with their peripheral vision. The software guides users to address the appearance of images so that they can finetune those images themselves according to their specific needs.

  5. Spy Eye LLC of Los Gatos, Calif., has a vision enhancement system consisting of an eye-mounted display (in a contact lens), a camera, and a processing module. The camera and the processing module can be included in the contact lens or can be placed separately in a necklace or headpiece. For those with retinal problems, the eye-mounted display can show images away from any damaged sections of the retina. Images can be magnified, compressed, and/or enhanced. Image projections will always go to the same section of the retina, meaning that the user will get a more consistent and overall better view of images. 

 

Research across all of these databases was conducted quickly and efficiently using ResoluteAI’s Foundation. To talk to a real person about how Foundation can help your company or organization, please email us at info@resolute.ai.

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Lesley Pink

Lesley Pink, our senior digital editor/writer, has written across a range of industries including artificial intelligence, actuarial science, government, law, and financial journalism. She's a fan of the serial comma and mint chocolate chip ice cream. And no, pink is not her favorite color. You can reach Lesley at lesley@resolute.ai.