The navigator OrNavi 2S is designed and produced by Oriense, a “Skolkovo” Fund resident and a graduate of ITMO University startup accelerator iDealMachine and startup-school SumIT. Its goal is to improve the lives of visually impaired and blind people by offering them access to the world outside their home. TOK Foundation works to help socialize and train people with visual and hearing disabilities.
“I have known Sergei Fleitin, the director of TOK Foundation, for a long time. He is our client, a tester, and my friend,” says Vitaly Kitaev, a founder and CEO of Oriense. “We have produced a pilot batch of navigators before and provided them to the first clients around the country. The batch was limited, and we sold each item almost at cost, for 18,000 RUB. Now, due to the difficult economic situation, we had to increase the price to 24,000 RUB. Of course, we understand that for blind citizens this price is unaffordable, and we decided to launch a fundraising campaign together with the Foundation. Thanks to it, only one third of the final price, 8,000 RUB will be paid by the clients, while the rest will be covered by the charity.”
The campaign is expected to help more than 300 blind people. To contribute, you just need to follow the link to donate.
OrNavi 2S has gone from a prototype to a well-received navigator. Still, the developers keep working at further improvement, in terms of software updates, battery capacity, as well as reduction of the device’s weight and size.
“When we manage to increase production, we will improve the device completely and reduce its size, so that it can fit into you pocket,” notes Mr. Kitaev.
The navigator works well in a low-temperature environment, which is relevant for the majority of Russian regions. The necessary information can be easily accessed with a push of a button and can also operate in automatic mode.
“The company has significantly upgraded the navigator. I have a lot of devices, and I monitor foreign markets as well. And it is Oriense that offers the best device, with its comprehensive and convenient interface,” states Valery Khristianov, the company’s client.
Visually impaired users of OrNavi 2S admit that the device is indeed useful. Some of them need assistance in a trip to another city, others just want to get to the next street. But there is one thing that is mutual for all of them: people want to have freedom of movement and become independent.
At the moment, the navigator not only informs the user of his or her location, but also warns against various objects nearby – trees, benches, and advertisement billboards. This enables users to explore the environment and not only get from A to B. Moreover, OrNavi 2S helps to find an optimal route to your destination: the device will correct the direction, warn against an obstacle, and save frequently used routes. In the absence of a specific object, the client can add it on the map. Also, the device is equipped with a transport mode that voices the stops, as noted the developers, among whom are a few blind people. By pushing a button, the user can inquire about working hours of a shop or post, as well as to find out a phone number of a theatre or bank. There is also a possibility to connect a Bluetooth headset and other facilities, such as web-camera for text recognition or even OrCV - glasses with integrated video camera, operating as a guide. Another important advantage is that the device works independently from mobile nets, roaming or Wi-Fi.
“As yet the government cannot provide blind people with such devices as ours. This is why we want them to receive the navigators thanks to this charitable campaign. We will keep receiving recommendation from our clients, and thus mobilize investments, work with the government, and supply our navigator to blind people from other countries,” said Vitaly Kitaev.
In fact, charitable foundation “Creative Association “CIRCLE” is engaged in sociocultural rehabilitation and adaptation of visually and hearing impaired people for more than two years. The organization runs a program for handicraft teaching, guiding services for deaf-blind people, and computer courses. At the moment the foundation implements a unique ceramic studio “TOK”, where deaf-blind and deaf people work together. At the same time, Oriense Company designs high-tech devices for the deaf-blind and the visually impaired. Their products combine computer vision and navigation technologies, while all the research is done in collaboration with future clients.