Japan based startup Telepathy has built a wearable that has similar capabilities to a navigation app on a smartphone except–it’s voice activated and hands free. This device is made especially for when users are walking, using it’s AR capabilities. We talked with the Telepathy team to learn more.
Founded in 2013, Telepathy specializes in smart eyewear technologies. Jumper, our first product, has been widely used in business fields and remote diagnosis in particular. We’re now crowdfunding our first consumer product, Walker, on Kickstarter. We’ll use the funds for manufacturing.
Tell us about your Telepathy Walker.
Telepathy Walker is the world’s first eyewear specifically developed for discoveries while walking. With the Walker device and augmented reality applications, including it’s highly intuitive navigation and local discovery app, anyone can get around safely and see things they’ve never noticed before. Telepathy Walker will add more to its app lineup, from location-based AR games to simultaneous translation app, so that users can enjoy discovering the world in easier and more entertaining ways. Anyone with prior Android app development experiences can easily develop and distribute their apps for this Android-based smart eyewear via our developer-friendly marketplace.
What was the inspiration behind the Walker?
Staring down at a smartphone while walking is not safe. But more than that, people are missing so much fun and excitement around them when their attention is only being paid to a smartphone screen. That is why we created Telepathy Walker, a smart eyewear with applications that enable users to get around safely and see things they’ve never noticed before.
How do you differentiate yourself from existing/potential players in the wearable tech market?
Application wise, our navigation and discovery app “ARrow Navi” provides very unique and highly intuitive discovery experiences. With the app’s voice command capability, all users have to do is tell Walker what they are up to and follow an augmented reality arrow in their vision all the way to their destination.
Hardware wise, we invented a patented display technology that doesn’t interfere with one’s natural vision. What this means is that users see both the screen and the world around them clearly at the very same time. This patented display also enables users to see clear images even under intense sunlight, which has been a pain in the neck for many smart eyewear and smartphone users.
Last but not least, Telepathy Walker is small (75x110x21mm), light (<55g), and wearable over a user’s prescription glasses. Along with its unique foldable design and magnetic head mount, users can put the device in their pocket when they are not using it.
What was your greatest challenge when making the Walker and what’s the most important lesson you’ve learned so far?
The greatest challenge was to make Telepathy Walker small and light without compromising its capabilities so that people can comfortably get around with the device. Besides our technological efforts, we focused on a few applications that provided a great deal of utility in relatively short times (e.g. navigation) instead of trying to replace smartphones entirely. Battery size is one big obstacle still facing the portability of smart eyewear.
When is the Walker available, where can it be purchased, and what is the cost?
Telepathy Walker is now available at special prices on Kickstarter; the crowdfunding campaign ends on April 18th, 2016. Available for $349, the consumer-friendly “Early Bird Edition” comes with a unity of Walker, ARrow Navi and other apps, and attachments. The $299 “Hacker Edition” is intended for wearable app developers and comes with a unit of Telepathy Walker with no apps installed except for basic developer tools. Telepathy Walker will be available via our website for $699.
What can we expect from Telepathy in the future?
We are single-mindedly focused on enabling people to explore the world around them in ways they’ve never experienced before. For example, location-based augmented reality games are one of the things that we are currently trying our best to provide via Telepathy Walker. Imagine virtual characters popping up in your vision and interacting with you as you walk around cities and streets with the device. An application like this is not only fun and exciting, but it is also potentially beneficial to local small businesses.
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