For people with limited vision, the simple task of walking from one place to another can be a big challenge. Canes can be of some help, but they can be clumsy and awkward in crowds or tight quarters, and sometimes people would prefer to use a less obvious aid.
The Sunu Band was created to solve this problem. It appears to be a fairly typical smart watch or fitness band, except that it has something that looks like a faucet aerator stuck on one side. Oh, and it has no visible display. The strange appendage is part of an ultrasonic transceiver system that bounces waves off obstacles and then communicates their presence to the wearer through vibrations. The closer the object, the more intense the vibration. And you can direct the beam wherever you want with just a twist of the wrist. The system operates in one of two modes. For indoor use, it has a range of about 6 feet for higher sensitivity. When outdoors, you can switch to the long range mode of up to about 12 feet, which gives you more warning as you approach potential obstacles. The watch also tells time (discretely vibrating so nobody else needs to know that you’re checking), and you can even get wireless tags to help you track and locate personal items such as a briefcase or coat.
The Sunu Band has been in production since December, 2016. According to the company website, current orders are being filled with a 4- to 6-week lead time. This is an excellent example of ways that wearable technology can provide adaptive solutions that can aid individuals with specific impairments.