Best Ideas 2019 features all the nominated entries submitted under ‘Submit your Idea’ category. All the entries consist of innovative solutions or propositions for an enterprise that champions the Sustainable Development Goals. They can be on the conceptual, planning, or start-up stage.
AI4VI - Advanced I-Sight for Visually Impaired
Explain your idea in details:
According to estimates by cureblindness.org in 2015, there are about 36 million visually impaired around the world and another 217 million people around the world with severe or moderate visual impairment. As part of our own research we discovered that more than 10% of visually impaired people suffer from head bumps or tripping injuries more than once a month that critically impacts their lifestyle. The guide dogs and canes cannot detect obstacles that are above the hip level or something that is fast moving towards the person. Our product AI4VI is a patent-pending wearable sensor that alerts a visually impaired wearer to any obstacles that may pose a danger to them. The sensor detects obstacles that are beyond the immediate range of the guide dog or the cane especially those obstacles that are higher than the hip or any fast moving towards the person. Our product is small, lightweight, and can be worn on the body providing several advantages. First, the wearer does not need to hold it in his or her hand, thus freeing up the hands for normal use. Second, it is lightweight so it can be worn on the body for extended periods of time. Third, it provides audible and haptic feedback to the user so they can be alerted in all types of environments. Fourth, we have a companion smartphone app that can provide additional feedback via haptic alerts to the user. The companion app can be updated further to provide more features on an ongoing basis.
Expected impact of your idea on sustainable development
The injuries sustained by the head bumps and falls not only carry an immediate medical cost for the person but there are other long term impact as well. In case of senior citizens there are additional risks of more severe injuries from falls that may require hospitalization and associated direct medical costs and indirect costs to persons providing support services and the impact on the medical system too. There is also a hidden cost of lifestyle changes resulting from loss of confidence that are well documented. By providing a device that can proactively stop most if not all of these injuries there is a positive impact to the overall well being of the community not the least of which is the reduction in health care costs. Based on our analysis there are millions of people around the world that can benefit from such a low cost device, especially in third world countries where there are still accessibility challenges to visually impaired people. We can measure the success by the immediate lifestyle improvements that the wearer can see and some of the indirect reduction in medical and other related costs. Furthermore, we are working on other improvements to our device that can help visually impaired people to venture beyond their comfort zones and expand their independent travel further. Through our device we hope to make a sustainable improvement in the community and beyond.
Plans for implementation and sustainability
We worked with one of our medical advisors, Dr. Nelson Eng who provided guidance and advice on requirements and expectations from such a device. We also demonstrated our device to the students at NY Institute of Special Education. We also had the students try out our device and got great feedback from them. We also presented our device at last year's World Maker Faire in New York City where visitors to our booth provided very positive reviews and comments for our device. Our analysis indicates that the competing products are very expensive and require additional services to be purchased. Our business model is to move into the lower end of the market with an affordable device that we can quickly bring to the market. Our prototypes cost around $40 and we expect the costs to go down once we start producing in volume. By introducing the device in a specific segment, we hope to hit intermediate milestones for our investors that will help set us up on track for the subsequent milestones. Our goal is to sell our product online. Once we achieve some economies of scale we also want to provide our device at a subsidized price to underprivileged market segments. For our initial work and prototypes we obtained funds from our families and will further use those funds to continue our ongoing research and development work. We are looking to tap into funds from our families as well as seek other external funding that will help us do a targeted marketing and advertising campaign both to expand visibility for our product and obtain further funding for volume production.
We are an enthusiastic Science and Innovation team from New York. Our team is called D²NK, which stands for our names and our motto: Design Into Knowledge. We use our strengths in research and technology and work on various STEM initiatives to build devices for specialized purposes and write mobile apps to solve all types of challenges. Our aim is to use technology to make a difference in the lives of the people and community around us. Our AI4VI innovation won the Future Innovators award at the Johns Hopkins Healthcare Design Competition in April 2019. We were also named as Conrad Innovators at the Conrad Challenge 2019 and selected as a Finalist at the Paradigm Challenge 2018 contest. We were selected to showcase our AI4VI wearable sensor at the World Maker Faire New York last year. We participated as part of a First Lego League team and won several awards including Core Values Award at the Razorback Invitational at Arkansas where teams from more than 40 countries participated. Team Members: Nitin Seshadri, Age 15, Sophomore at Somers High School, Somers, NY Deeya Patel, Age 16, Sophomore at Hackley School, Tarrytown, NY Divek Patel, Age 15, Freshman at Hackley School, Tarrytown, NY Karan Keerthy, Age 13, 8th grader at Briarcliff Middle School, Briarcliff Manor, NY