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Moment

A low-cost wearable device for blind users. Communicates information from a phone just through the user's sense of touch. wearmoment.com

Photo of Ajay Karpur
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What problem does your idea solve?

The digital world is fairly inaccessible for blind users. Notifications, caller ID, and turn-by-turn navigation are cumbersome (for example, when a blind person's phone rings, it often shouts the name of the person calling for everyone to hear). Moment improves access to digital information for blind users while allowing them to use their other senses for situational awareness. It also improves mobility with tactile navigation cues.

Explain your idea

Moment uses haptic feedback to augment a user’s perception. It communicates with companion iOS and Android apps to provide notifications, caller ID, and navigation as silent and discreet sensations. (Why have your phone shout at you when you can silently feel the information through “wearable Braille” instead?) The functionality can be extended through our open SDK, allowing developers to create complex haptic effects using tactile illusions.

Who benefits?

Individuals who are blind or low-vision can use Moment to replace annoying auditory alerts from the speakers on their phones. Our current product meets their needs inexpensively. According to the WHO: "285 million people are estimated to be visually impaired worldwide: 39 million are blind and 246 have low vision. About 90% of the world's visually impaired live in low-income settings. 82% of people living with blindness are aged 50 and above."

How is your idea unique?

Current medical devices for sensory substitution are clunky, involving electrodes placed on the tongue or large unattractive vests and body suits. Our approach is unique because we can achieve high-fidelity haptic feedback using inexpensive and discreet hardware. A BrainPort device for electrotactile tongue stimulation (used by people with visual impairments and balance impairments) costs roughly $10,000. Moment retails for $249 and is designed to be a great user experience.

Tell us more about you

The three of us met 5 years ago through the Flinn Scholarship Program, which awards full-ride scholarships to Arizona universities to the twenty best students in the state. We quickly became friends, and during college we worked together on a previous startup (Ebook Glue). Shantanu started working full-time on the precursor to Moment at the beginning of 2015. Jake and Ajay joined full-time in May 2016. We incorporated May 2016, and we now live and work together in Phoenix, Arizona.

What are some of your unanswered questions about the idea?

Right now, most of our customers are in North America and Europe. We're currently trying to figure out how to get to market in more countries. We hope to work with the World Blind Union to find potential users in other countries, including the 27 countries listed in the Challenge Brief. We intend to gather more information about the market in each of these countries and determine which we may best be able to serve.

Experience in Implementation Country(ies)

  • No, not yet.

Expertise in Sector

  • I've worked in a sector related to my idea for more than a year.

Organizational Status

  • We are a registered for-profit company (including social enterprises).

Idea Maturity

  • Prototyping: I have done some small tests with prospective users to continue developing my idea.

2 comments

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Photo of Ashley Tillman
Team

Hi Ajay, thanks for sharing! What are your plans to scale in the next 1-2 years?

Photo of Ajay Karpur
Team

Hi Ashley! We're starting off by working more closely with blind and low-vision individuals to improve our device's user experience for them. That'll be our focus for the next 4-5 months. From there, we plan on partnering with organizations that already work with blind users to expand our reach.