Regaining sight through a haptic belt will soon be possible thanks to the startup Artha France. The company has been working for years on a device that replaces vision with touch, providing autonomy to visually impaired people by enabling them to develop an entirely new perception of their environment. It involves a mini-camera, attachable to glasses, which translates the person's 3D environment into haptic language. This camera is connected to a lumbar belt that tactically reproduces these images on the back through integrated artificial intelligence and small pins.
After just a few minutes of use, users are typically able to intuitively perceive large objects. However, the device is also capable of detecting small obstacles using cameras similar to those in smartphones. Thus, visually impaired people can move around, play video games, and even drive cars. Since 2020, this device has been tested in various situations by 140 people aged between 10 and 80. It takes about 5 minutes to explain how it works and 2 hours for users to become proficient. The startup is launching a private sale in early 2024, where 100 devices are available for reservation at a price of 3000 euros.