Feelif Device Invented by a Slovenian Company Is Among the World’s 150 Best Innovations
This is a smart tablet that helps the blind and people with low vision to communicate, read and play.
The Feelif device for smartphones and tablets developed by a Slovenian company that helps the blind and people with low vision is among the world’s 150 best innovations. This view is expressed by the experts of the Centre for Commercialization of Innovation and Technology working under the auspices of UNESCO. What does this development offer to the blind and people with low vision?
Željko Khermayer, the 4WEB founder, got the idea of Feelif development four years ago while watching a program about deafblind people. He was impressed by the isolation of these people from the outside world. Since that time, he began to nurture the idea of how to make smart phones and other products of modern technologies used in everyday life more accessible for such people.
A pilot project was the development of a communicator for the blind and deaf people, which won the first place in the contest of social innovations. Since the deafblind people belong to a very hard to reach group of consumers, the developers have concluded that in this way they can help a much wider range of people. Thus, the idea of Feelif was born—an auxiliary device for the blind and visually impaired people.
How Does It Work?
Feelif consists of a surface raised grid, which rests on a smartphone or tablet, and an online application. An appropriately sized raised grid is selected individually for each type of devices.
The technology is based on the vibrations, by which a blind or a visually impaired person determines what is at his or her hand. The grid has protrusions that help the user more easily recognize the vibrations and imagine the object.
“Our technology is based on the vibrations. We all already know the Braille type. Our invention includes vibrations as well. The patented technology is a new word in science and technology. It is for the first time that this technology is used for such a purpose,” Katarina Pavšek, one of the Feelif developers, says.
On the tablets with raised grid, the blind and visually impaired people will be able to identify the basic objects (a square, a circle, a triangle) as well as the more complex ones (a house, a baby, a star, etc.), to learn the Braille type, draw, play and read online having free access to the Internet. Users can muster the technology in just 5 minutes.
In September this year, after the end of the probationary period, the developers expect to enter the global market, first in the UK and Spain, and later in other countries.
The First Buyers Will Test the Device in Two Weeks
In the coming weeks, Feelif will be provided to the families with blind children or children with low vision. Given the current frenzy, the developers expect to sell a few devices. The product price is around 500 euros.
14 Million Potential Buyers
In total, there are about 285 million blind people and people with impaired vision in the world. If to exclude those who, in addition to blindness, have some other special needs, we will receive 88 million potential users around the world, and 14 million of them live in the USA and Europe.
The Ultimate Goal Is to…
The ultimate goal of Željko Khermayer is to make the Feelif online applications available for all blind people and people with depraved vision around the world and, at the same time, to open the online market for the exchange of various models and applications for the blind people and people with low vision, their parents and teachers, as well as programmers who would develop digital solutions for Feelif.
The Financial Times (in collaboration with Google) has included Željko Khermayer into 100 best leaders and innovators of the Central and Eastern Europe. He is accompanied by five other Slovenes: Ivo Boscarol, Tomo Križnar, Kristjan Košič and Denis Lončar.