We were walking in Genoa, when a person stopped us: “Can you help me cross the road and reach the bus stop?” He was a blind person and that episode gave us an idea. We studied Biomedical Engineering and we wrote a paper on computer vision: we can give make a robot understand the environment around it and allow it to move, why don’t we do the same with a person?
From this idea Horus was born: a wearable personal assistant for blind and visually impaired people. It analyses and comprehends the surrounding scene and gives a verbal feedback to the user. It is worn on every pair of glasses thanks to an universal joint mechanism and it communicates through bone conduction without hindering the person’s hearing, one of the most important senses when a person cannot rely on his or her sight. All of the computations Horus performs happen locally, without the need of any internet connection or external device. In this way, Horus is reliable always and everywhere.
Right now Horus is a prototype that we are testing with some organizations and branches of the Italian Blind Union. Horus can assist the person in finding text, giving information on the best position to acquire the image and then reading the text. We are starting some tests of the zebra crossing detection algorithm, too. Moreover, we forecast to deliver a prototype with face and object recognition during early 2015.
Every day we receive messages from people interested in using and testing Horus: they recognize in this device a great tool for their independence, and this is our fuel. These messages help us to deal with the ups and downs of our startup life: we want to help people and we are constantly focused on the development of our prototype.
We want to answer these people’s desire and in 2015 we will offer some prototype to early adopters, but in order to do so we need some help. This is why we launched our crowdfunding campaign on http://crowdfunding.wcap.tim.it/horus to raise the amount we need to create some prototypes and start tests with blind and visually impaired people in Italy. They will use Horus in their everyday life and give us feedback: this will allow us to further improve the device in every aspect (software, interaction, design, etc..).
Supporting us is really easy and you can greatly help our project: moreover, with the concert in the dark or the blindly dancing lessons we offer, you will be able to try new sensory experiences.
If you believe in Italian innovation, this is the moment and the way to show it to the world.
Saverio e Luca, Horus Technology founders