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RBR50 Spotlight: Glidance provides independence to visually impaired individuals

Organization: Glidance Inc.
Country: U.S.
Website: https://glidance.io/
Year Founded: 2023
Number of Employees: 2-10
Innovation Class: Application

In the U.S., around 1 million adults are blind. Yet, only 2% to 8% use a white cane for navigation. Most instead rely on guide dogs or sighted companions, according to the Perkins School for the Blind. This reliance limits independence and mobility, a challenge that Glidance, winner of the 2023 RoboBusiness Pitchfire Competition, aims to address through robotics.

The company’s flagship product, Glide, offers autonomous mobility assistance for the visually impaired. It incorporates advanced guiding technologies and a unique mechanical design to foster independence.

Glide’s innovation provides haptic and audio feedback for safety. The product has garnered praise from industry experts, particularly for its potential to serve an underserved market segment. CEO Amos Miller, himself blind, brings a firsthand perspective to Glidance’s mission.

The Seattle-based company plans to sell the device for about the cost of a new cell phone. It will also offer subscription plans that enable feature updates and options that will make Glide easily configurable for each user’s needs.

With a battery life of up to eight hours and quick user adaptation, Glide promises to revolutionize mobility for the visually impaired. Founded by Miller and Mike Sinclair, Glidance represents hope for those seeking greater freedom and autonomy in navigating the world.

Miller noted that more than 50,000 individuals lose their sight every year, yet worldwide there are only 10,000 working guide dogs any year. This leaves a huge gap and providing the opportunity for a device like Glide to make a huge difference in users’ lives. It can cost up to $50,000 annually to train and care for a guide dog throughout its working lifetime with a person who is blind.

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