emilios farrington-arnas designs a personalized assistive product for the visually impaired

emilios farrington-arnas designs a personalized assistive product for the visually impaired

being told that you have a lifelong, incurable, eyesight problem is a terrifying prospect; one that is very difficult to come to terms with. for the visually impaired, retaining independence in day-to-day life is important, however, navigation can be a long-winded, potentially unsafe process, especially in new environments or at night. simple tasks like travelling to work can become arduous and time-consuming and more often than not, need planning beforehand.

the final, functioning prototype, used for user testing with visually impaired people



london based industrial designer emilios farrington-arnas‘ ‘maptic’ is composed of a sensor that detects objects in front of the user and translates this into vibrations on feedback units worn on the left and right sides of the body. using the sense of touch frees up hearing for detecting immediate dangers, which is the dominant sense when visually impaired.

home screens of navigation app, showing the bright, high-contrast design language for partially sighted people



this product has been designed to not look like traditional assistive and medical products by incorporating elements and materials found in current fitness wearables such as soft-touch polycarbonate and bright colours. either disguised as jewellery or clips or worn as statement pieces, ‘maptic’ is entirely adaptable to the individual and their style preferences. swapping out the cable for a pin or clip allows the units to be concealed around the body, and can be worn on belts, in pockets, or clipped onto shirts.

close up of the sensor, with exposed internal electronics



along with immediate hazard perception, an included high contrast, bold app allows ‘maptic’ to pair with users smartphones. utilising the phone’s GPS, the app can navigate the user to chosen destinations via vibrations to the left and right sides of the body when the user needs to turn.

maptic can be worn without attracting the stigma that current assistive products harbor

sensor unit, with feedback units worn on the left and right wrists

using a standard guide cane while wearing a feedback unit

wearing the sensor around the neck, disguised as a form of jewellery

altering the detection distance of the sensor while wearing a feedback unit on wrist

charging dock, showing recessed jack, exposed jack, and view while charging a maptic unit

close up of feedback unit, with embossed logo

close up of sensor and feedback units

exploded view of sensor unit, showing the internal electronics inside



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: apostolos costarangos | designboom

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