The national and international blind community

The scientific community, for the scientific development of the system


Development of a system including the creation of new situational awareness algorithms aimed at:

  • Identification of safe walking;
  • Detection and decoding of environmental text;
  • Initial definition of a new type of tactile elements, based on electrical stimulation techniques.

Project Details


Sant’Anna High School of Pisa


The project envisages the development of a wearable system that can help the blind and visually impaired to move around unstructured areas performing daily life activities. This objective is based both on the results achieved by phase 1 of the ABF project, as well as the significant experience that the Sant’Anna University of Pisa acquired, on topics such as sensory feedback with wearable systems, artificial intelligence and image recognition. The system should therefore include wearable intelligent perception system with high-resolution tactile display aimed at increasing the independence of the blind. The portable device incorporating human-machine perception and interaction through a tactile sensors and audio interface. “ABF E-Theia Project” also hopes to encourage openness to and of new projects with even more complex and implantable neuro-technologies. The transition from research to industrial development of the system will be fundamental, to make it accessible for all.


The autonomy of the blind always depends on the constant assistance of a person, an animal or cane that inadvertently affects both their social life and inclusion in the world of work, limiting and refraining them from complete integration. 285 million blind people. Every 5 minutes a new person becomes blind. In 2011, the founder launched a challenge to a group of Boston MIT researchers inviting them to develop a device that could allow the blind and visually impaired to be able to have a more accessible daily and social indoor and outdoor life. That intuition spurred the creation of the “MIT 5th Sense” project which ABF continued until 2016, with already significant results and which prompted the Foundation to ponder further considerations on the matter, with the intention of creating a second, even more practical, design stage, which could be developed in Italy.


The CHALLENGES PROGRAM brings together world-class experts to find innovative solutions to help people cope with their disabilities/discomfort and overcome limits imposed by them. Thus, this program is done with the development of projects in the fields of scientific, technological research and social innovation.

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