AI harness aids blind ‘vision’

Swiss-start-up Biped has developed a smart harness designed to act as an artificial intelligence (AI) co-pilot for blind and visually impaired people.

 

Inspired by his own computer science research and from working next to the main ophthalmic hospital in Lausanne, co-founder and CEO Maël Fabien developed the lightweight harness to guide people using AI and sound. Fitted with 3D cameras monitoring a 170° field of view, Biped detects, tracks and predicts the trajectories of surrounding elements a few seconds in advance, filtering relevant information and alerting the wearer via immersive 3D sounds.

 

“This mirrors the way autonomous vehicles work,” said Fabien. “Biped will, for example, warn a user about a bike 12m ahead on the user’s trajectory, but ignore an object that is closer but with no collision risk.”

 

The harness weighs less than 1kg and can be worn over any thickness of clothing without clips or special fastenings; it looks more like a rucksack strap than a medical device, said Fabien. “The signals are transmitted through comfortable bone-conduction earphones and the system can also connect to mobile apps to use GPS.”

 

Revealed at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Biped recently closed a US$1.1 million seed round and is now in the process of filing for Class I medical device status. “Our aim is to launch first in Switzerland in Q2 and then the US in early 2023, with direct sales or by monthly subscription,” said Fabien.

 

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