Cooperation and Research
The feelSpace GmbH has its roots in research at the University of Osnabrück. In 2005, the project of the same name was launched by Prof. Peter König from the Cognitive Science course of study. The aim of the project was to investigate whether humans can learn a new sense. The compass belt emerged as the means of choice for transmitting information about where magnetic north is located.
During the studies on the "North Sense" it turned out that the vibration signal from the belt was perceived very intuitively by the user. The belt also proved to be a valuable aid for the blind study participants in finding their way around in everyday life.
The founders of feelSpace GmbH participated in the research with the compass belt and recognized the added value. In 2015, feelSpace GmbH was founded as a spin-off by us, Silke Kärcher, Susan Wache and Jessika Schwandt.
We are Cooperative
It is still very important to us to conduct and support research. The naviBelt is already being used successfully in many research institutions, including in the areas of sensory augmentation and virtual reality. We conduct research in a number of cooperation projects, supervise students with their theses and internships and make special offers for scientific institutions that want to do research with the naviBelt, e.g. you receive a comprehensive API and support in connecting the naviBelt to your individual research project.
Feel free to take a look at our APIs and the naviGürtel fact sheet.
Our Previous Projects
EU (ERDF/ESF) funded innovation project "EasyBelt: further development of the naviBelt® for more efficient production"
As part of this project, we are striving to develop a product variant that is less time-consuming and costly in production with a comparable range of functions. So far we have been producing a lot by hand, and while that's fun, now that the volume is growing, it's also getting difficult at times. This further development means that more people can be supplied with the naviBelt and further areas of application can be opened up.
ID3AS, project "Design of a smart digital assistant with a tactile interface for seniors"
Cooperation partners: including Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences. Project completed
In this project we examined tactile signaling in the context of age-friendly technologies. Among other things, we developed a design concept for a digital assistant for seniors. In the future, such a digital assistant could help older people in their everyday lives using artificial intelligence and machine learning. Important information is given out via display, speakers and above all with the help of tactile stimuli. Seniors can also find their way around independently and self-determinedly on the go. To do this, we implemented an interface between the belt and a smartwatch and asked seniors about their needs.
NBank, project "Routing app for tactile navigation device for the blind"
No cooperation partner, project completed
In this project we have implemented a heartfelt wish of our blind customers: We have developed a routing app for the naviBelt. With the help of this app, it is now barrier-free possible to enter a destination via smartphone and to be taken there by tactile signals around the stomach. In addition to the beeline display and the compass mode, this is an important prerequisite for enabling blind and visually impaired people to take part in social life in a self-determined, independent manner, since, for example, traveling to unfamiliar cities is made much easier.
Project: "Tactile Learning"
Cooperation partner: University of Osnabrück
In this project, we fundamentally examined whether tactile stimuli can also be used in the context of e-learning. When learning, our brain tries to absorb and store as much information as possible. If teaching content is presented multimodally - i.e. information is taken in simultaneously via eyes and ears, for example - we can learn and understand faster. We checked whether the multimodal learning success is enhanced by vibration stimuli. Result so far: It depends on what you present and how.
Project: "Evaluating the feelSpace belt in everyday application"
Cooperation partner: University of Osnabrück
In this project, three bachelor students from the University of Osnabrück examined the effects of the naviBelt on the everyday life of blind people in a study. For this purpose, blind study participants wore a naviBelt for seven weeks. The participants were regularly asked about their experiences and their assessment of the naviBelt. Some participants also took part in behavioral experiments, e.g. it was measured whether they could walk longer distances in a straight line with or without the naviBelt. The result: The participants felt much safer with the naviBelt than without a belt. Typical traffic situations such as busy streets, free spaces or busy intersections appeared much less threatening with Belt.
ZIM, project "RivTex - Improvement of the stretchable cover of the naviBelt"
Cooperation partners: German Institute for Textile and Fiber Research, AMOHR GmbH
In this project we are working on an improved production method for the textile parts of our naviBelt. The naviBelt is designed in such a way that it should meet the highest demands in terms of appearance, quality and function. To ensure that this remains the case in the future, we are investing in this project to improve case production.
fastGait, project "tactile walking aid for Parkinson's patients"
Cooperation partners: Kliniken Schmieder Konstanz, IHP Dresden, Inshoerance GmbH
This project is about tactile stimuli for Parkinson's patients. Parkinson's patients suffer from the so-called "freezing of gait", which means that they sometimes freeze in the middle of a movement and then, for example, cannot finish a step they have started. Sometimes those affected fall. Scientific studies show that vibro-tactile stimuli can resolve such "freezing" in the middle of the movement. We are working on developing a corresponding tactile application. This requires many tests in advance so that we can ultimately supply our customers with an effective, safe product.
OptiVist, project "tactile guidance of grasp"
Cooperation partners: University of Osnabrück, others see project page
This project is about the future: In the near future, autonomous cars will be on the road. With the technologies that are needed to enable cars to drive "themselves" without a driver, you can also do a lot for blind people. In the first step, we want to make shopping easier for blind people using a mixture of machine learning, object recognition and tactile displays.