It’s no robot guide dog – but this wearable

By Federico Guerrini
With expertise in tech to help robots detect and avoid obstacles, two Italian engineers have now turned their energies to making a device for the blind.
According to WHO data, 285 million people are estimated to be visually-impaired worldwide. Whether totally blind or with low vision, they face daily challenges in moving around and interacting with their immediate environment.
It was in 2014, after a chance encounter with a blind person, that the idea of Horus was born. It’s a wearable device aimed at describing the physical world to those who cannot see it.
“I was with my co-founder Saverio Murgia in Genova, close to the train station,” Horus Technology CTO Luca Nardelli tells ZDNet. “We saw a blind person trying to get around following the corners of the buildings. Unfortunately, on that day, there were some works on the street, and he couldn’t recognize the landscape.”
Murgia and Nardelli, two biomedical engineers, were at the time both studying how to help robots detect and avoid obstacles using artificial vision. “We stopped and thought: why not apply our knowledge to help people instead?” Nardelli says.
After two years and a number of small and not-so-small prizes (from the European Institute of Technology’s €15,000 to US firm 5Lion Holdings’ $900,000 investment, and an Nvidia Emerging Companies Summit prize), Horus is gradually coming closer to having a commercial product.
Externally, it looks a bit like an old Sony Walkman: a rectangular box, which contains the battery and the GPU, to be worn using a belt hook or kept in the pocket, linked to a headset……
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Source: Zdnet