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 device is primary meant for outdoor use. Indoors, where there are typically many obstacles nearby, interpreting the vibration and voice feedback is more challenging.
An updated version of the Guidesense will enable tuning of the detection range allowing more efficient use of the device also indoors and improved haptic feedback.
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.
The trial continues in Spring of 2017 with a long-term study with a smaller test group.
Senior Scientist Tero Kiuru