A gain in perception for all visually impaired people

Artha France is developing a haptic belt to help blind and visually impaired people perceive their environment. It transmits images from a camera to the visual cortex of the brain via skin sensors.

A solution for everyone's autonomy

Artha France is developing a haptic belt to help blind and visually impaired people perceive their environment. It transmits images from a camera to the visual cortex of the brain via skin sensors.

How does it work?

The images displayed on the lumbar belt can come from both the 3D sensors located on the glasses and the screen of a computer. They are then adapted for tactile restitution, then conveyed as sensory information by the nerves to the visual cortex of the brain. They will then be treated in the same way as if they came from the eyes. This new source of information is naturally interpreted whether one is blind from birth or not. The system adapts to each user and their level of control of the device. It works both indoors and outdoors, whether you are in the middle of nature or in the corridors of the metro at peak times.

Our progress

Thanks to 100km walked in France with 100+ testers

Validation of the theory

First tests on a fully mechanical prototype.

September 2017

Proof of concept

Measures on the improvement of tactile acuity with training using the first electronic prototype.

January 2019

Moving around in a virtual environment

Experiments on movement and orientation in virtual environments (randomly generated labyrinths in the game Minecraft).

October 2019

Outdoor tests

Outdoor walks thanks to the integration of a camera.

October 2020

Training optimisation

The device is now 5 times faster to handle thanks to user feedback.

March 2021

Virtual driving

Tests in Trackmania to improve reactivity and perception distance.

December 2021

Real-life driving

Driving cars on a circuit to test the limits of the device and fulfil the dream of many blind people.

March 2022

French Vision Institute

The Streetlab study shows a very clear gain in mobility after only 10 minutes of use.

June 2022

Training

As with learning to read or ride a bike, a learning phase is necessary to master the device. The various software improvements have made possible to shorten this time as much as possible. After 10 minutes :
« For the locomotion task, despite the short training time (10 min), participants walking with the belt and the white cane detected obstacles significantly more than when they were only carrying their white cane or only wearing the belt. »
« 10/13 participants felt that the belt was useful or very useful for moving around. »

Quotes from the Streetlab report

After 1 or 2 hours, the mental load is reduced and perception becomes more and more precise.
After about ten hours of use, users can perceive up to 10 meters away realise the number of activities that become much more accessible to them. The mental load becomes zero and perception becomes a reflex, which makes the device very relaxing to use.

The concept

Origins

Our work is based on Paul Bach Y Rita's research. He highligted the possibility to substitute the sense of sight by the sense of touch. Here is the device he used in the 80's for his experiment:

Our vision

We shared it during a TEDx conference at the Montansier theatre in Versailles:

The project in videos

Feedback from Lucas

In charge of the development of the CIE Guide Dogs of the Heart

May 2022

Feedback from Fabien

From Trackmania to real-life driving

July 2022

Blindfolded driver on a track

Confident enough to drive without a copilot

June 2022

Timothée Adolphe

World Champion in 400m

August 2022

Feedback from Fabien, physiotherapist and native blind

Is drawing possible ?

June 2022

Is it useful to see up to 10 meters?

May 2022

Complete experience

May 2022

Driving in Trackmania

April 2022

Learn more

Feedback from Mounir

Blind person not using the cane

Août 2022

Feedback from Marcel

A blind man tests the device in mobility and in Trackmania

August 2022

Feedback from Nicolas

Informatics trainer at the "Fédération des Aveugles val de Loire"

May 2022

Presentation

Discover the project in 90 seconds

2022

Competitive Trackmania

Obtaining Gold Medals

August 2022

First blind driving tests

Line tracking in a meadow

April 2022

Blind driving on a track

Christopher impressed by the technology

May 2022

Feedback from Thibaut de Martimprey

Administrator of the apiDV association

January 2021

The team

Rémi du
Chalard

Amaury
Buguet

Zacharie
Nataf

Francois
Outters

Alain
Salmon

Wandrille
du Chalard

Wandrille
du Chalard

Cosme
de Moucheron

Michel
Teyssedre

Roger
Pottlitzer

Raoul
Gilard

Marie
Peray

Geneviève
Chantepie

Marie
Peray

Geneviève
Chantepie

Smaël
Berahal

Scientific advisors

Alain
Ripart

Sylvie
Chokron

Hugues
de Montalembert

Malika
Auvray

Support

Click to see who is talking about us