Good vibrations

Location: Vietnam

Categories: Health


Generally, the streets in Vietnam aren’t blind-friendly and the crowd and busy streets make it difficult to use a cane. As a result, visually impaired people can feel isolated from society because of this lack of infrastructure. Unfortunately, the appropriate equipment or surgery are available at a cost that most people cannot afford.


Nguyễn Bá Hải developed electronic proximity sensors that blind people can use to know their surroundings better. It works in a very simple way: when an object is near, a box attached to the user will start vibrating. Robotiv eye includes two sensors: one on the glasses to detect objects in the top area and another one on a portable box which also includes the vibration mechanism. It can be hand-held or put on the waist. The two are connected by a cable. The closer an obstacle, the quicker the vibrations.

Using such basic technology makes it easy to manufacture and affordable for low income users. In fact, it is only available for customers meeting 3 criteria: they have to be totally blind, to need to move in their daily life (to go to work, for example), and to have low income. The people matching this profile can pay the amount they can personnally afford and the rest will be paid by private companies or individuals.


  • A solution to a public health issue that is not necessarily tackled by public authorities
  • Device locally assembled in Vietnam
  • Providing an affordable solution and a social business model to make it available for as many people as possible


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Isabelle Huynh and Kevin Brunet