waytoB team are People’s Choice champions at Tech4Good Awards

Posted on: 19 July 2018

The Trinity team behind waytoB – a smart tech solution comprising a smartwatch and app that grants unparalleled independence to people living with an intellectual disability – have won the prestigious People’s Choice award at the AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards.

These annual awards, organised by AbilityNet and supported by BT and a number of other sponsors and partners, are handed to individuals and teams whose work uses digital technology to make the world a better place for other people. The People’s Choice award is among the most sought-after as it is chosen by the public, who have been voting for weeks via Instagram, Twitter and the awards website.

Talita and Robbie (third and sixth from the left respectively) celebrate waytoB’s People’s Choice success. Image credit: Guerman Botten, AbilityNet.

Robin Christopherson, head of digital inclusion for AbilityNet, praised the successful solution. He said: “waytoB is a really innovative take on the satnav, that all-important guide most of us use every day. By combining smartphone and smartwatch features this is navigation with a twist – specifically designed to provide that extra help needed by users with a learning difficulty or disability.”

The waytoB app lets carers/partners pre-programme set routes on a smartphone or desktop, which allows the smartwatch to elegantly guide the wearer via turn by turn directions. This is possible due to a visual and haptic language co-developed by the researchers and the users. The person navigating only sees a highly simplified and intuitive interface and receives directions (arrows and icons associated with audio and vibration) based on their orientation, which means no map-reading is required.

The app also integrates walking instructions with public transport and allows a carer to live-track the user’s location, heart-rate and battery usage. If the user deviates from his/her path, or his/her heart-rate elevates to a certain level indicating stress or anxiety, the waytoB system will notify the carer and immediately establish user-carer contact via a phone call.

waytoB, currently funded by Enterprise Ireland’s Commercialisation Fund, was invented and developed by Research Fellows in Trinity’s School of Engineering, Robbie Fryers and Talita Holzer-Saad. They are also participating in the EIT Digital Health Accelerator, with the goal to validate the solution in other EU countries. waytoB is being trialled in Ireland by organisations such as Down Syndrome Ireland and St. John of God, and new trials are set to begin in August in the UK, with Edinburgh City Council and Hereward College, Coventry.

Talita Holzer-Saad said: “To be put on the same list as companies like Be My Eyes and Microsoft was already an honour. We are absolutely delighted, not only to have received such a prestigious award, but also to see so many voting for us and sending supportive messages. waytoB is all about making the world more accessible to everyone, and we love to see people joining us in that mission!”

Robbie Fryers added: “Events like Tech4Good inspire us to do what we’re doing. The energy and ambition from the other participants is contagious. It is amazing to be mentioned on the same page as these innovative solutions. A huge thanks to everyone that took the time to vote for us and who supported us along the way!”