biped.ai (formerly known as SoundMap) aims to provide blind and visually impaired people with freedom and independence. Based in Lausanne (canton of Vaud), the start-up develops the world’s first autonomous walking device that combines 3D cameras with artificial intelligence algorithms, similar to how autonomous vehicles operate.
Indeed, visually impaired people live with the constant fear of hitting obstacles. Independently discovering new places can be a struggle, leading to social exclusion and a continuous need for external help for everyday activities. Existing technological solutions often require extensive training but have a limited range of perception, give slow feedback, and are expensive.
biped.ai’s all-in-one walking device is equipped with 3D cameras and uses artificial intelligence algorithms to provide real-time information on a person’s surroundings through directional sounds. The device is worn on the shoulders as a lightweight harness and provides wireless audio feedback via bone-conduction headphones. Just like autonomous vehicles, the device tracks objects and predicts trajectories to filter the most important information and allow the user to anticipate a few seconds ahead what will happen.
A potentially life-saving solution for many people
Worldwide, more than 300 million people are visually impaired, and 40 million are fully blind. biped.ai’s solution has the potential to become a life-saving solution for many people : by combining advanced computer vision and signal processing, biped.ai can provide information up to 10 times faster than competitors at an affordable cost.
The team will use the CHF 150,000 funding from Venture Kick to advance the industrialization of the device and expand the team to bring the device to the market in summer 2022.