Built with O&Ms since day 1

From the very first sketch, biped involved Orientation and Mobility (O&M) specialists, low vision experts and end-users. biped's team has been actively developing NOA with the Ophthalmic Hospital in Lausanne as well as various centers around the globe.

2021: First prototype

We started biped out of a Hackathon, a 1 week challenge to create an impactful solution. biped started as a belt that can describe surrounding objects. When we introduced the first prototype to end-users & O&Ms, we quickly realized that the field of view needed to be higher to allow space for white canes and guide dogs in front.

We tested our software extensively with that version and added night vision for users struggling with low light. We focused on developing a new version that would sit on the chest and be easier to mount.

2022: First vest

Early 2022, we developed our first vest. We added night vision to our system and reduced a lot sensory overload by only focusing on obstacles that have a real risk of collision. At that time, NOA was still only an obstacle detector.

We organized many user testing sessions in standardized environments for the vest and came to these conclusions: the vest needed to be clipped on the chest, but it was still challenging for users to put on their device alone. The field of view was also too limited on the ground-level and on the side for lateral obstacles. Back in the lab!

Late 2022: First O&M tools

O&M trainers during test sessions highlighted that it was challenging to train users without knowing what the device percieves from the environment.

So we focused on building a smartphone app capable of streaming what the device perceives from the surroundings, in real-time. This tool was put in the hands of O&M trainers from day 1 to get feedback on the information to present.

2023: Doing more

As our obstacle avoidance technology started to reach maturity, we realized that our technology needed to do more than avoiding obstacles. We followed O&M trainers during white cane session, we joined guide dog training sessions and converged to the following idea:

We need NOA to give accurate GPS instructions that respect O&M rules, and most importantly, to be able to guide the user to a specific element such as crosswalks, stairs, doors & exits, just like guide dogs would do. NOA now had the ambition to become a real all-in-one mobility solution.

2024: Buttons

In 2023, NOA was tested with over 200 end-users, and used on a daily basis by dozens of beta-testers. As NOA grew in complexity, the smartphone app was needed more and more to change settings, control the device, etc.

We saw many requests to make the device work without a smartphone app, and with buttons on the device to control settings. For our first commercial product, we focused on adding these buttons, designed the layout with end-users, mapped the features with O&M trainers, and quickly got awesome feedback. NOA will keep evolving in terms of software, but our first device is now ready!

Over 600 km walked with NOA in 10 countries! Built with over 250 beta-testers from day one.


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O&M app

Our team developed a smartphone application that helps O&M specialists during training sessions.

You get access to the location of potential obstacles around the user, the GPS that the user should follow, the descriptions that the AI system provided... And you also get options to send a stop instruction to a user, to repeat a command, and change deeper settings.

Custom maps

To bring NOA even further, we developed a new interface available for O&M trainers to draw on a map the favorite paths of a user, the key points of interest, landmarks, buildings, shops, and much more...

This interface then translates into short audio warnings, e.g. "Fountain", "Intersection facing coffee", or anything you register it for.

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