Haydn Green Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Ultrasonic glove that allows blind people to sense their distance from objects wins award

Team Sensei

Team Sensei with Chris Mahon

A prototype of a glove that alerts blind people of the proximity of objects has won first prize in the inaugural Entrepreneurship and Business Competition run by Nottingham University Business School (NUBS) at The University of Nottingham and Engineers in Business Fellowship (EIBF). The SenSei Glove uses ultrasonic sensor technology to provide vibration cues on the distance from objects.

The SenSei team set out to create a product that can help blind and partially sighted people sense the distance of objects without having to undergo a lot of training. The SenSei prototype glove features an ultrasonic senor on the back of the glove. The battery operated ultrasonic sensor emits different levels of sound depending on how physically close the wearer is to an object. A good analogy is the sound of a car’s parking sensor.

The SenSei team is now working on the ergonomics with a view to making the ultrasonic sensor smaller and lightweight so that the glove is very comfortable to wear. The team hopes to gain a business development grant to help with the ongoing development of the product.

Unlike other business competitions which focus on developing a traditional business plan, the NUBS/EIBF competition challenges undergraduate students to create a novel product concept that meets a real need in society. Competitors also had to demonstrate use of engineering skills in the creative process.

Coming a close second in the competition was a team of international students who addressed the problem of feeling unsafe when walking in unfamiliar places. The team developed GPSafe, an impressive mobile app solution. Whereas most GPS apps provide users with the shortest route, GPSafe combines GPS technology with readily available public safety data to give users information on the safest walking route.

Team SenSei won £1,000 and life-time mentoring from EIBF Fellows while team GPSafe picked up a cheque for £500.

Chris Mahon, Deputy Director of MBA Programmes at Nottingham University Business School said: “We are pleased that EIBF has sponsored and supported this new competition as part of the Entrepreneurship and Business module. Engineering skills are incredibly important in business and the competition is a great incentive for engineering students to develop entrepreneurial skills. The judges and I were impressed by the creative ideas and passion for making a difference demonstrated by all who took part, so choosing the winners was difficult. Congratulations to the SenSei and GPSafe teams.”

The other product concept entries were:

  • MUC: a novel product to clean cosmetic brushes for better hygiene
  • Bliss Wrist: a device that improves sleeping patterns
  • Wrist Watch: a telemedicine device
  • Gym Time: an app to help choose the best time to visit a gym

EIBF President and Visiting Professor in Sustainable Wealth Creation at NUBS, David Falzani said: “We want to inspire young engineers to get more involved in business innovation. The imaginative entries show that engineering skills are well-suited to the creation of new business ideas. We’re aiming to make the Entrepreneur and Business Competition an annual affair.”

Posted on Wednesday 4th February 2015

Haydn Green Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB

Tel: +44 (0) 115 951 5273
Fax: +44 (0) 115 846 6341
Email: innovation-enquiries@nottingham.ac.uk