Designed with children in mind, the Audio Bracelet for Blind Interactions (ABBI) is a device that can be worn on a child’s wrist that provides extra feedback for the visually impaired. The wearable, not much bigger than a wristwatch, can sense body motion and provide the user with spatial information on where the movement is taking place based on a series of sounds.
Originally, Dr. Gori, lead of the project team, hoped for full commercialization within a year. Now, after a successful end to the ABBI clinical trial and the ABBI-K kit, which contains the wrist device and a set of speakers, ABBI will soon get distributed to hospitals and rehabilitation centers. Overall, they are close on target Dr. Gori says.
“ABBI-K will help therapists to provide rehabilitation using the ABBI device in a simple and intuitive way,” says Dr. Gori. “We’re also finalizing the procedure for the CE mark, so it seems we’re in a very good place right now.”
Currently, the team is working on a business plan to proliferate the market with their device and offer a helping hand to children who are visually impaired.
“We‘ve received some interest from an early-stage investor for supporting the commercialization of ABBI and ABBI-K. We’re also currently working to finalize the agreement involving the future startup with my colleague Chiara Martolini,” says Dr. Gori. “This result was possible thanks to the Technology Transfer Office within the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT). Several hospitals and rehabilitation centers in Italy have shown a big interest in our device and general approach.”
Although they’ve only tested the device on children three years of age and older, Dr. Gori believes this device could have a significant impact on those even younger than three years old.
“Up until now, we’ve only worked with ABBI on children above the age of three, but I’m convinced that the use of ABBI could be crucial to improving spatial, manipulation, and social skills for visually-impaired children in the crucial first three years of their lives,” says Dr. Gori. “I plan to fully explore this notion further, especially due to the fact that, to date, there are only a few technological rehabilitative solutions developed for early intervention in young visually-impaired children.”
Dr. Gori hopes this device helps kick start even more technological advances for the blind.
“I think that the ABBI project opened a cascade of big opportunities for the rehabilitation of visually-impaired children,” Dr. Gori says.