A Smart Watch

A smart watch that helps blind people navigate

Fernando Albertorio is legally blind, which can make it tricky to navigate busy sidewalks without bumping into things. He’s got a sort of superpower to help him, though: he can sense objects—people, doorways, trash cans, lamp posts—well before he touches them.

Albertorio, cofounder of a company called Sunu, doesn’t actually have a sixth sense that alerts him to obstacles in his path. But he does have a wrist-worn gadget he and two cofounders developed, which uses a sonar sensor and subtle vibrations to do exactly that.

The band, which he wears daily, emits a high-frequency ultrasound wave that bounces off objects he encounters. The band considers the strength of this reflection and produces a vibration that’s stronger or weaker depending on how close or far away the object is.

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