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Horus - The Invisible Made Audible


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Creating a product involves many different aspects, from user analysis to engineering, to funding and finally to market launch. This talk will cover some pieces of the history of Horus and the lessons we learned.

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Horus - The Invisible Made Audible

  1. 1. 285 million people are estimated to be visually impaired worldwide: 39 million are blind and 246 have low vision*. * Source: World Health Organization
  2. 2. Visually impaired 285 M Blind 54 M People with low vision (2015) Blind 39 M Blind people (estimates for 2020) Global data source: WHO, IBU
  3. 3. Horus is a wearable device developed to assist blind and visually impaired people during the entire day. Horus observes, understands and describes the environment to the user, providing useful information.
  4. 4. Menu buttons Stereo camera Bone conduction system Menu buttons Volume buttons Headset connection Horus is composed of two parts: the wearable headset and the pocket unit
  5. 5. Our story (in short) Feb 14’ 15’ SPECIAL AWARD Recognized by MIT Tech. Review as a disruptive company Jan 16’ GROWTH 12 new employment opportunities in two years May 16’ Raised 900k$ in Venture Capital BETA Prototypes Received the first custom boards and assembled the first beta prototypes Sep 16’ Project start
  6. 6. External input identification Cameras acquire images Images are transferred to the computing unit 3 2 1 Audio is transferred back to the headset5 Information extraction 4 Sound output 6 How Horus works
  7. 7. Horus can help the user with: Scene descriptionFace recognitionText reading Object recognition Mobility assistance
  8. 8. Horus is able to recognize printed text. It helps the user in obtaining a correct position for reading, thanks to an audio feedback given through bone conduction. Text recognition
  9. 9. If the text is located in the upper part of the field of view, Horus emits a high-pitched sound to tell the user to lower the text If the text is located in the lower part of the field of view, Horus emits a low-pitched sound to tell the user to raise the text Example of audio feedback
  10. 10. Horus can recognize people’s faces and describe them to the user. After detecting a face, Horus can quickly associate a name to it, thus learning and remembering the identity of the new person. Face recognition
  11. 11. Horus is able to recognize an object thanks to 3D perception. When Horus has to learn a new object, the user can simply rotate it in front of the cameras. Horus will memorize and learn its shape in order to properly recognize it in different situations Object recognition
  12. 12. Processing Input frame (stereo) Point cloud Point cloud Disparity map Processing pipeline
  13. 13. Center sound Right sound High pitch sound Low pitch sound Left sound From above The location of the object is communicated using stereo audio and variation in pitch Audible UI
  14. 14. Horus can observe and analyze the surrounding environment to detect the presence of potential obstacles. The user is made aware of their presence through a 3D sound map. Mobility assistance
  15. 15. User High-pitched sound left Horus uses 3D sound to report the presence of obstacles during movement. The space in front of the user is divided in different sectors: lateral obstacles generate high-pitched sounds in one of the two speakers, while central obstacles generate low pitched centered sounds. These sounds are repetitive and they increase in repetition frequency as the obstacle gets closer. High-pitched sound right Reporting obstacles Low-pitched sound center
  16. 16. Horus is able to describe what the cameras are seeing. Whether it is a postcard, a photograph or a landscape, the device provides a description of what is in front of it with a sentence. Scene and photos description
  17. 17. Video Here
  18. 18. What did we learn?
  19. 19. 1 Speaking a lot about our idea
  20. 20. 2 Asking for help to mentors and advisors
  21. 21. 3 Write everything down
  22. 22. 4 Hiring is super important!
  23. 23. 5 Always have a plan B (and maybe C, D, and so on…)
  24. 24. Luca Nardelli - CTO Interested in working with us? Visit