The newly launched BuzzClip is a small and discreet wearable device that helps those living with vision loss with day to day traveling by detecting obstacles in one’s immediate environment and then notifying the wearer of these obstacles through intuitive vibrations. It uses ultrasound to detect any obstacle it is pointing at and vibrates faster and stronger as the obstacle/person gets closer. The BuzzClip is an electronic device that offers upper body protection that is sometimes missed by a guide dog or cane. It is not meant to be a replacement for the cane or a guide dog, but rather it is supposed to work in tandem with traditional aids to provide the user more information on their surroundings, particularly at head level.
The BuzzClip can be easily attached to many forms of clothing (i.e it can be clipped on a lapel of a winter jacket, on a collar, sleeves (long or short) and the lining of one’s belt) making it a highly versatile and useful device.There have indeed been many proximity detectors that came out over the years. And the earlier ones definitely caused a lot of frustration as the functionality and reliability were far from advertised. But we have been working closely and testing our prototypes every step of the way with blind and partially sighted testers in Canada, the U.S and India. Although we do use the same ultrasonic technology, the technology has become much more refined over the years. Also The Buzzclip is not just another ultrasonic proximity detector. The fact that it is wearable and hands free makes it applicable in a lot more use cases. Some of our testers have been using it in line ups at coffee shops to determine when the line is moving forward. Some of them have been using it as a way finder in tight spaces or crowded rooms by walking in the directions where the Buzzclip doesn’t detect anything. Some have found it useful as they would be able to tell if the person they are conversing with got up to get water and when they get back. It provides extra information on one’s surroundings passively and users are constantly finding new ways to use this extra information.
A lot of effort was put into optimizing the user experience of the device. Limiting it to 1m and 2m modes reduces false positives and only provides vibratory feedback if there are obstacles or people in your path or coming directly at you. The device goes to sleep if you are at a fixed distance for over a few seconds so that it doesn’t constantly vibrate if you are talking to someone for example. It reactivates again if the distance changes for more than 10 cm. So once it is switched on, the user can simply carry on their usual routine without the need to operate the device constantly. The battery will last for a full days use (10 hours) on a single charge and it is rechargeable through a Micro-USB cable. (just like android phones)The Buzzclip is slightly larger than a lighter. The enclosure is made entirely of aluminum so that it is water resistant and durable and also very aesthetically pleasing. The device consists of 3 main sections, a sensor arm that is circular and smaller than the size of an iPod nano in terms of area. It is connected to the battery enclosure by a metallic spring clip that is similar to the ones on pocket knifes and multi-tools. The main body is rectangular with rounded edges and is roughly the size of a lighter. The micro-USB charging port is on the side of the main body. On the back of the main body is the vibration motor arm which is spring-loaded for when one is wearing loose clothing. The entire unit has a finish that is similar to the look and feel of the Apple TV remote. When it is worn, the only part that will be exposed is the circular sensor arm.
The BuzzClip is currently available to pre-order through a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. For the next 15 days, we are offering Early Bird BuzzClips at a discounted price of $129 USD. After this campaign ends on November 22nd, the final batch of BuzzClips will be manufactured and shipped to our supporters by March of 2016.
More information and videos on our product can be found at
our page on Indiegogo.
If you have any difficulty navigating through the campaign page, the Indiegogo app on the iphone is completely accessible and in case you want to order an Early Bird BuzzClip, here is the direct link to place an order.
You can also hear our spotlight interview on Cool Blind Tech as well as on Blind Bargains Qast 39 for more info.