If you’re blind you likely rely on a cane or a seeing eye dog to get around safely, when you go out. But what if an obstacle is coming at your head?
A new invention with a hugely successful Indiegogo campaign is now set to revolutionize the vision-impaired world, and how blind and partially sighted people can get around.
The new gadget is called the BuzzClip, and it’s so small that it can fit in the palm of your hand.
The BuzzClip can detect obstacles at any level, before the wearer bumps into them-and it’s been so well-developed that it is being endorsed by paralympians Jill MacSween and Mark DeMontis.
How does it work? The BuzzClip uses sound waves and a proximity sensor to detect objects. Users attach the clip to their clothing, and wear it while moving about. If something is in the wearer’s way, the clip, which can be worn all day with a 10-hour battery, vibrates to let the wearer know something is in the way.
The frequency and intensity of the clip’s vibrations increase as an obstacle gets closer to the user (or vice versa).
Liu’s father has inoperable glaucoma, and Mali, who has volunteered extensively with blind orphans in India, had a grandmother who was blind.
And so, they wanted to help.
“We’re very excited about the BuzzClip. And we’ve gotten a lot more support than we expected. There seems to be an interesting trend at the moment for small start-ups, like us. People want to focus on the social aspect of things, instead of just trying to hit it big by inventing something. There’s a move to want to solve a problem, first,” Liu says.
Liu reinforces the idea that, while useful, the BuzzClip is not a replacement for canes or seeing eye dogs.
“It’s important to know that we see the BuzzClip as a complimentary product. We don’t advise (that blind users) get rid of a cane or stop using a dog to help get around safely. Someday technology will replace traditional vision aids but right now, we still have them and their good. The BuzzClip is a great additional aid.”
The BuzzClip has sold out if its first tier promotion on Indiegogo and is now available for a second tier discount at $149, with three days to go in the campaign. Once manufacturing is complete and the campaign finished, the BuzzClip will retail for $199 USD.
iMerciv, the BuzzClip’s founding company hopes to take the helpful clip to international markets, after launching in North America, as allowing wearers to move freely and safely could make a difference in the lives of millions.
There are over 314 million visually impaired people in the world and it’s estimated that over 87% of this total population resides in the developing world.
If you want to help out, the BuzzClip campaign is allowing supporters to gift a clip to a blind youth in India.
It’s time for some change. As the website says, ‘Feel the buzz. Not the bump’. Check out this video to learn more.