illumies News and Blog

To be able to be transparent with our wearers, we publish articles about product developments and events. We need to hear whats going on in the community and make sure what we do is correct, so feel free to comment and discuss with us here openly.

The first steps with visually impaired users

"We see now how users want feedback from the application."

In illumie we use augmented reality (AR) to help the blind navigate the world around them.

The app maps the environment around users and checks if something is standing in the way, and with Azure Computer Vision we analyze what is around the users.

We are now looking at how users want feedback from the app and are exploring the following options:

- A voice that tells where and what things are (iOS screen reader)

- Spatial audio via a bone conducting headset that gives a more precise indication of where things are without obstructing the ears. We're using Google Resonance right now for spatial audio.

- We are also working on a self-developed bracelet that can provide haptic feedback. The bracelet contains an Arduino chip and a haptic actuator that connects to the app via Bluetooth.

Soon we will test the first version of the app and we are interested in getting in touch with more people who are blind or partially sighted.

Do you know someone who may be interested in participating, feel free to contact us here


How illumie came to be

"We want as simple as possible" - Visual impaired users

illumie emerged from a company wide idea competition at Sopra Steria where 15 were selected. 150 hours were given to those to work on the project and develop a solution. After speaking to those that are blind and visually impaired, Jelmer and Ingri found that spatial meshing could be used to gather environmental information around them and be used to provide alerts to their surroundings.

They started testing with the Magic Leap as it came with a controller that could read inputs from the wearers.

"We want as little stuff as possible" a quote from the Norwegian Association for the Blind showed that large headsets and controllers were not the right way to go. A switch to mobile phones with together with an app was the next step for illumie and ultimately won the competition.

Currently illumie is focusing on developing the application to be ready for an open beta, looking at object detection and obstacle avoidance in its first iteration. Making sure that spatial audio and haptic feedback can be delivered in a desirable way is of the highest importance.