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Explore Your World with the Sunu Band and Sunu App
The Sunu Band, a favorite product on our APH Innovations line, and its accompanying app just received a huge upgrade.
The Sunu Band is so much more than an average smartwatch. The sleek mobility wristband uses ultrasonic technology to help you navigate. Powerful sensors and haptic feedback inform you of how close you are to obstacles in your path.
Designed for people who are blind or visually impaired, the Sunu Band should be used with a guide dog or with a white cane. This technology enables you to explore the world confidently and independently. Beyond navigation, the Sunu Band can also be used as a haptic watch to tell time.
Available for iOS devices, the Sunu App enhances the capabilities of the Sunu Band. While out and about, use the Where Am I feature to learn your exact location and the compass to pinpoint the direction you are headed. The convenient Explore mode can help you discover places as you pass by them.
If you are looking for a specific destination, Sunu App has you covered. Search for nearby places and browse place categories until you find where you need to go. Don’t forget to tag and save your favorite places in the app for future travel excursions. Other helpful additions to the app include a phone finder and the ability to set vibratory alarms.
Find out more about the Sunu Band by visiting our shop and download the app for iOS devices. For more information about how the Sunu Band and Sunu App can work together, listen to our interview below with the CEO and one of the business developers at Sunu. A transcript of the interview follows the media player.
Paul Ferrara: Hello everyone this is Paul Ferrara Communications Accessibility Editor for APH. I’m joined today by two members of Sunu. We have Marco Trujillo, who’s the CEO and co-founder, Diego Mendoza who is business development for Sunu. Welcome in gentlemen.
Marco Trujillo: Thank you very much, Paul.
Paul Ferrara: So a couple of questions for you. Marco, let’s start with you. Can you tell us a little bit about Sunu the company?
Marco Trujillo: Yes, Paul, thank you. So I am Marco, the CEO at Sunu, and one of the co-founders as well. So I started the company back in 2014. And at Sunu we strive to transition the world to a place that is more inclusive through innovation. Basically, we want all this technology that is available there– it’s making rockets land themselves, cars drive themselves, and machine learning, and all that– is in the hands of people who need it the most, in those use cases that it’s still Limiting the access and the way people with any disability live. So that’s, that’s what we, what we want to do. As I said, we started in 2014 then we actually launched the product in 2017, the Sunu Band, the first smart mobility aid, that is a compliment to the cane and uses sonar detection to help users prevent accidents to the upper body and navigate with more confidence. And then in the, in the next couple years in the in the following couple years we released an app and we’ve been enhancing all the features and functions of the Sunu Band. So far we’ve reached to several thousands of users in across 50 countries, we have some distribution partners as well in 30 countries, including important organizations of some countries, like Vision Australia. In the US, we are engaged with, we work with Perkins with National Federation of the Blind and so on. So our goal is to keep innovating, keep bringing technology that makes sense to the user, that is empathetic and has a graceful design.
Paul Ferrara: And that mobility aid is the Sunu Band, of course. So Diego, can you tell us a little bit more about the band and how it works?
Diego Mendoza: Hi, Paul. Yes, thank you. So to get started, I would like to explain that we, we at Sunu we like to explain or describe the Sunu Band as a smart mobility aid as Marco was mentioning, but it’s also a smartwatch for the blind. And how it would work, it’s an invisible white cane for your upper body and it allows the visually impaired to be more independent and understand how close or how far they are from from objects. So the closer you get to an object, the more the Sunu Band will alert you of something coming in front of you and therefore you will automatically understand whether there is something coming up for your upper body.
Paul Ferrara: Can you tell us a little bit more about what the person would experience and what they could do with that information?
Diego Mendoza: Absolutely. So the Sunu Band works, well, it’s called echolocation. That’s what bats use to navigate and it’s basically sound bouncing back and forth and the Sunu Band has the same technology. So the Sunu Band has a sensor that aligns to your thumb, allowing you to point it into any direction and, of course, it’s actually pointing to whatever’s in front of you and it is actually translated into haptic feedback, meaning that you get gradual vibrations and depending, let’s say that you have a clear path in front of you, you will feel no vibrations, but as soon as you start walking towards a wall, for example, the vibrations will slowly start increasing. So that’s what you will be feeling on your wrist. It’s, of course, real time and the vibrations are constant, of course, and they are updated live depending on, of course, what’s around your environment.
Paul Ferrara: You also said that it was a smartwatch for the blind. Can you talk more about that capability?
Diego Mendoza: Of course, on top of the Sunu band being a mobility aid and working for obstacle detection and upper body protection, you also have the option of using the Sunu Band or unlocking the features of the Sunu Band being a smartwatch, of course it has a haptic watch, which allows you to know the time even though you don’t have the Sunu Band paired to your phone. It also accesses the Sunu app, which of course goes through some of the GPS features and it allows you to have other small features such as a phone finder and basically by, by putting the Sunu Band together with the phone you automatically unlock all the smart features. Of course, getting to the app is another subject, but that’s how you would unlock that part of the product.
Paul Ferrara: And let’s talk about that app for a moment, Marco. I understand that the app has been significantly revised, there are a lot of new things to it. So can you tell us a little bit about the purpose of the app and its functionality?
Marco Trujillo: Sure. So the Sunu app is an accessible navigation app. So it’s similar to other navigation apps in the market, like Google Maps, maybe BlindSqure. The interesting part about the Sunu app is that it works together with the band. So the user can access all navigation features without the need of taking their phone out of their pockets. Everything for this prompts Sunu Band allowing all the obstacle avoidance functionality that the Sunu Band provides. So the app, the intention is to provide a user a better navigation and mobility experience. It has features like Where am I, which tells the user exactly where they are like street address, closest intersection. It has an explorer feature which is enabling the user to know what places are around them, what street are are around them while he’s walking. He can adjust levels of information. So let’s say he is in rush and he probably just wants to hear about the streets. So you can adjust that just to hear streets as you walk. Or if you just want to know what’s around you in terms of places you can do that as well. We have any other features like finding places using categories. Or adding a place to your favorites, a landmark to your favorites, you can start navigation later on. It is a set of tools basically for mobility powered by Azure Maps and Google Maps and deliver in a very natural experience to the user through the Sunu band. So the user really just needs one single device to access as many mobility and navigation features. And so one of the cool things about integrating both in the same experience is like, let’s say you’re walking down the street just wanting to know what’s around you, you can activate explorer, you can be listening to the street you are, you can be listening to which streets are next, what places are you passing by as you walk. And then in the same time, the Sunu sonar is catching all the obstacles and giving you real-time information of what obstacles are around you so you can either avoid them, you can probably just use them as a reference, as a landmark to go around them, or in case you’re probably following a person you can even trail, you can shoreline a building, you can do all those things in a way that is not obtrusive to the user, because by virtue the feedback is always coming as a secondary layer of, of attention to the user, so you can receive that in the background and just hear to some navigation cues in a way that is not invasive so you can always be paying attention to your surroundings.
Paul Ferrara: Some very powerful tools there the Sunu Band, The Sunu app, powerful on their own, but definitely a duo that works best when you have them together. You can get more information about the Sunu Band itself at aph.org, and thank you, gentlemen, for being on here with us today.
Marco Trujillo: Thank you very much, Paul, for having us here.
Diego Mendoza: Thank you, Paul.