The Tik-Tik, a wayfinding device, is blind Dutch designer Simon Dogger's latest life-changing invention. He has shown again how empowering good design can be.
Technology is changing the way we see the world, but it’s also changing the way the visually impaired experience the world. Sound and sense designer Simon Dogger’s latest project, the Tik-Tik, is a venture into technology to empower the 317 000 blind people in the Netherlands – and ultimately the visually impaired everywhere.
The Emotion Whisperer
Dogger, who lost his sight while he was a student at the Design Academy in Eindhoven, first came onto the radar of Design Indaba with his device called the Emotion Whisperer, a device that translates body language into vibrations. It lets the visually impaired feel a person’s facial expression by means of touch-based feedback.
After becoming blind, he took a break from his studies, but the resumed them in 2014. He graduated in 2017 and went on to win the René Smeets award for the Emotion Whisperer, his graduation project, which he presented at Design Indaba Conference 2018.
This device was inspired by a gap in Dogger’s life. He wanted to have the benefit of reading his partner’s face, a key part of day-to-day communication and connection.
Tik-Tik brings freedom of movement for the visually impaired
And now with his new project, the Tik-Tik, Dogger addresses another need: freedom of movement.
Wayfinding in public buildings is mostly visual, which makes many of these facilities troubelsome for the visually impaired. The Tik-tik indoor navigation app is based on pre-scanned building maps and customised software.
With intuitive touch-based and auditory feedback it safely guides its user to desks, platforms or gates in places such as airports, train stations or museums – the app can plot any indoor route.
It also detects unexpected obstacles or moving objects, facilitating independent access to public spaces for the visually impaired, and it reduces their need to be dependent on others for help.
Dogger has used his own vision loss to inspire him to develop inclusive designs that contribute to the independence of the blind and visually impaired.
Dogger presented the pilot version of Tik-tik for the first time during the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven, on Wednesday, 24 October of this year.