Guidesense is an assistive device for the visually impaired based on unique technology.
Guidesense enables visually impaired to perceive their environment better and safer. It monitors the obstacles in front of the user and uses vibration and/or voice feedback to convey this information to the user.
Guidesense prototype device has been clinically tested by 25 visually impaired test users in device trials approved by the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira). Partners in the trials are VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Kuopio University Hospital and the Finnish Federation of the Visually Impaired (FFVI).
Guidesense device and technology
Guidesense device consists of a flexible belt and a sensor module. The device is worn like a common heart rate monitor belt. It is important that the sensor module is pointing forward in the walking direction.
The operation of the Guidesense device is based on high-frequency radar technology developed by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd. The radar signal goes through typical clothing materials. This makes it possible to use Guidesense discreetly beneath clothing, for example under a jacket.
The current device version is primarily meant for outdoor use. Indoors, where there are typically many obstacles nearby, Guidesense may report close obstacles too frequently.
The device has been integrated with a range switch, with which the user can select the range that the device is using for obstacle detection. The range can be tuned according to the user’s walking speed, for example, and it allows for more efficient use of the device in tight areas and also indoors.”
Guidesense device was tested during the Summer of 2016 in a two-week clinical trial approved by the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira). VTT's partners were Kuopio University Hospital and the Finnish Federation of the Visually Impaired (FFVI).
In the trial, a test group of 25 visually impaired people used the device for 2 weeks. 80 % of the users felt that the Guidesense device improved their confidence in independent mobility and orientation.
Dr. Tero Kiuru