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Case Study: The SUNU Band

SUNU Band Review: Sandy Tompkins - January 2020

What are the challenges you face?

I’ve had low vision all of my life and have had many operations over the years. Now I’ve lost my sight completely, without light perception or anything. When I lost my sight I felt like I was in a vacuum and nothing was around me until I touched it. I had no sense of direction or orientation.

I’d gone from being mobile and outgoing and doing lots of travelling to being in the house all the time. I am between guide dogs at the moment and haven’t had one for five years.

How did you hear about the SUNU Band?

I’ve had my eye on sonar for quite a while. I’d looked at a couple of other devices but they weren’t suitable, either because they were too expensive, or they weren’t wearable.

Why did you decide to use this product?

I get embarrassed because I have to have my hands out when I’m walking around and I end up hurting myself. The SUNU helps me detect obstacles and whether they are near or far and it’s liberating. It has given me back a sense of space and place. I didn’t feel like I belonged in the world.

What difference has it made to you?

I’ve been using it for around a year. Unfortunately, I have a long cane but am not very good with it so I still use sighted guide a lot. The band is helpful when shopping, I can detect when I’m at the end of the aisle and can walk around the aisles without bumping into things and knocking things over.

I find it most useful when I know my surroundings. You also have to learn what the feedback or the buzz means but then you become intuitive with it.

I have recently been to Italy for five weeks. I always loved travelling but had stopped it completely over the last couple of years. I go with a group so I always have someone with me but I didn’t have the confidence for that before I started using Sunu.

For me the price was right too and I found it better value than the alternatives I looked at.

Who would this product help the most?

I think both long cane and guide dog users would benefit from using the band. For example, if you’re working with a guide dog it would help you give the right directions at the right time.

Product: SUNU Band

Description: The SUNU Band is worn on the wrist, like a watch. It uses sonar technology to send out a soundwave, which rebounds back when it hits an object up to 16 feet or 5.5 metres away. The band detects the distance of the obstacle and gives feedback to the users via vibrations. Working with a mobile app, users can explore and navigate new places, customise alerts and use the in-built GPS function.

Most suitable for: People who are totally blind or have low vision. The band is best used in conjunction with a long cane.

More information: http://www.sightandsound.co.uk/sunu-band.html

Price: £240 ex VAT

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