Enable people with visual impairments to greater independence and participation in society?
This project explores the needs, challenges and skills of people with visual impairments and uses co-creation methods to develop modern technologies around.
Wearable AI companion
REY is a personal wearable devices that translates uses artificial intelligence to adjust to the user’s needs. For persons with visual impairments, the tactile navigation, description and localisation of objects through 3D sound facilitates a more independent life. While the hands-free use of smartphone-based applications on the go, makes a connected live easier for everybody.
Interviews, emphatic modeling techniques, a fair visit and an online survey helped to familiarize with the user group of people with visual impairments. The found insights were basis for an ideation workshop that brought up various ideas. I discussed the most promising ones in a focus group session with people representing the target group in order to filter out the concept idea.
tactile turn by turn navigation
localizing objects by 3D sound
localizing objects by sound proximity
The thee main innovations for people with visual impairments: tactile turn by turn navigation, localizing objects by sound proximity and localizing objects by 3D sound are visualized above. Prototyping and testing these new ways of interaction helped to refine and optimize them. Feedback from the people representing the target group and their insights in everyday life use, served as valuable input for the final functions and design.
The design of REY follows four main principles that I discovered to be essential for the target group. These are to give the product a simple and distinct use, to follow the two senses principle, to support in learning how the product works and to support order an rituals.
asymmetry giving clear orientation
2 senses principle
For covering the whole use scenario I designed a home charging cradle for the wearable product. The station is designed to support users in daily rituals and help them keep order. Converting the cradle into a practical casing makes it easy to take REY along while traveling.
In the last focus group sessions, I could show the final models to possible users, which was a great experience. Together we discussed a lot of diverse personal use cases, that highlighted the individuality of REY.
„The problems, that people with visual impairments face are various and difer strongly depending on their eye condition, personal attitude and life situation. "REY" is a wearable speech assistant that supports users in various tasks and can therefore solve problems very individually. We are confident, that "REY" is a honorable winner for the James Dyson Awards 2018 and wish Clara Fessler a lot of sucess for her project."
Eberhard Schrempf - managing director Creative Industries Styria (translated from German)