A review of the SUNU Band by Zoe Hanscombe of Open Sight, Hampshire

Recently Zoe Hanscombe of Open Sight, Hampshire, reviewed the SUNU Band. A wearable for partially sighted and blind people.

The SUNU Band is a type of smartwatch that can be linked to your Smartphone and becomes a navigation tool as well as an obstacle detection aid, but it can also be used on its own without the app.

This device uses an array of sensors on a band you wear on your wrist similar to a Fitbit or watch. It has many different functions to assist a partially sighted or blind person. It can detect obstacles via sonar. A haptic notification will alert you of potential obstacles using a harder vibration when you are closer to the obstacle.

Here is what Zoe had to say after trying out the device:

"As a visually impaired person myself, and guide dog owner, I can certainly see the benefits for a person using this band who is living with sight loss. The SUNU Band comes with a charger cable, and instructions in Braille as well as print.
It is worn like a ‘Fitbit’ or watch and can go on either your right or
left wrist depending on what other mobility aid you use, it has a flat
pad where you would normally find a clock face and you use this pad
the same way when using your smartphone, by swiping in certain directions, there is also a circular sphere at the top of the band that is where the sensors live. The sensor needs to be in line with your index finger as shown in the photo.

 

 

You can naturally hold your arm down by your side, to see around you using the haptic feedback just twist your wrist around to find your surroundings. The band has a buckle strap like a watch and is very comfortable to wear.

Using echolocation this band can be used solely on its own as an obstacle sensor and a watch to tell the time, but it can also be used with a free app that is available on Android and IOS smartphones. This then turns the SUNU Band into a clever navigation tool along with many more functions.

So what can it do?

COMPASS & NAVIGATION
Know your way, explore new places and get spoken directions to where you want to go using the SUNU Band app on your smartphone.

Indoor Mode: when the indoor mode is activated it works on a shorter range as you are in more of a confined space then being outside, so detecting doors, furniture, walls etc at a range of around 2 metres.

I’ve found this function useful for:

  • Queuing: The band will constantly vibrate when behind someone in a
    queue, as the person in front, moves forward, the band will then pulse
    to tell me that the person has moved forward, as I move forward
    closer to the person in front, the vibration will become more
    frequent letting me know I’m close behind the person in front of me.
  • Finding things: Such as reaching out to press the button on the pelican
    crossing, the vibrations allow me to locate the solid object and finding doors and openings.

Outdoor Mode: In a more open space detection is increased.  Speeding up its vibration the closer to the detected obstacle you get. As you get closer the vibration intensified. With a little training and practice, it can be an extremely useful device.

I found outdoor mode useful for:

  • Detecting low hanging branches, lamp posts, street furniture, and people.
  • Glass doors are very hard to detect with low vision, the SUNU Band can solve this by vibrating to alert you.
  • Waist height gateways or barriers that are waist height.

Other functions available on the SUNU Band include an alarm clock, compass, voiceover and voice service, and a pedometer to track your footsteps and how far you have travelled.

You can: change measurements, change gestures, use the help section and
many more.

The good thing about using the SUNU Band with the app is more features and tools in the future can be updated within minutes when available. It is important to remember the SUNU Band should not replace a white cane or guide dog, it's an additional mobility aid."

Thanks to Zoe for providing such an insightful and in-depth review of the SUNU Band. If you are local to Open Sight in Hampshire you can find their contact details below.

Otherwise, please feel free to give us a call to talk further about the SUNU Band and how you could give one a try. Our number is 01604 798070. Or email sales@sightandsound.co.uk

Open Sight Hampshire currently have a demonstration SUNU Band at our Resources Centre, for more information please contact them on  02380 641 244 or email info@opensight.org.uk

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