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The EPFL spin-off created a harness acting as a copilot for visually-impaired people


“This funding round will help us push the company to the next level. Expand in Europe, launch the US, and build the world’s best mobility device for blind and visually impaired people”, says Maël Fabien, CEO and co-founder of the company. 

Serpentine Ventures, Fondation Juchum, Rolando Benedick, Joel Roos, Khalid Zitouni, Jerome Gerbier, Vincent Fabien, Caroline Fabien, Jean-Fabien Monin, Markus Herrli, Marcel Egger and other investors from SICTIC participated in the round.

The harness developed by the Vaud-based start-up weighs less than a kilo, and embeds a computer and cameras, whose images are analysed – day and night – by artificial intelligence algorithms. The whole system transmits spatialized sound alerts via a small headset.

The device identifies holes or dangers above the torso that a white cane cannot detect. The solution is not intended to replace the white cane or the guide dog, but is a complement. As with cars during parking manoeuvres, when an obstacle is identified, the user is warned by beeps whose frequency increases as the danger approaches. Biped only generates a warning if there is a risk of collision in the path of the person wearing the device.

The demand for guide dogs in Switzerland is outstripping the number available, making the Biped copilot a perfect fit. It could also be of interest to 270 million visually impaired people worldwide.


📸’s team from left to right: Paul Prevel (robotics engineer), Bruno Vollmer (CTO), Maël Fabien (CEO), Julieta Prieto Tarzia (robotics engineer), and Pierre Laye (full stack engineer). ©Maël Fabien