Technology That Guides
the Visually Impaired
Keith Kirkland, Accessories Design ’10, is co-founder of WearWorks, a haptics design company that develops products and experiences that communicate information through touch. Navigation is inherently visual, a truth that is clearer to no one more than those living with a visual impairment. WearWorks has created and patented an intuitive way to guide a person to a destination using vibration, without the need for visual or audio cues.
Kirkland, an engineer and designer who is using innovation to enhance the lives of others, co-founded WearWorks on the belief that everyone deserves to live an independent life. The company provides people with a greater sense of autonomy to explore new environments, be present with their loved ones, and experience their surroundings without being distracted by a device. Their first product, the Wayband, is a haptic navigation wristband for the blind and visually impaired. In 2017, it was used to help the first blind person run the New York City marathon unassisted.
Kirkland has worked with organizations ranging from the Metropolitan Museum of Art; The Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; Pratt DAHRC; Unilever; Futureworks; Discovery Channel; TED; Dropbox; the city of Yokohama, Japan; Coach; and the National Science Foundation. Kirkland was inspired to explore haptic design while working on 3D modeling.