What you hear is what you see

Being visually impaired can be isolating and make simple daily things difficult, such as connecting with the world around us. Thanks to breakthroughs in technology, people with vision loss can increasingly take part in daily activities with minimal impairment. Here's how SoundVision, an innovative project in Bulgaria supported by the EEA and Norway Grants is digitally tearing down visual barriers.

Seeing the world through sounds…

Navigating the world should be safe and easy for everyone. But how can we make the lives of people with visual impairments easier, safer, and more independent? This is where SoundVision comes in: the project's goal is to develop an innovative solution that assists visually impaired and blind people in leading a more independent and active life by using the SoundVision device for various daily routines.

"SoundVision was created with one goal in mind: to help visually impaired have more independent and active lifestyles."
Krasimir Kostadinov CTO of Scalefocus

…and in the palm of your hand

SoundVision is an affordable palm-sized and easy-to-use device that improves visually impaired people’s mobility and lifestyle. Paired with a mobile app, it complements the standard white cane and helps users become more active and independent by providing real-time information about the surrounding area. SoundVision boasts a comprehensive combination of features that is unparalleled in the global healthcare industry.

And the way it works is as straightforward as it gets: point the device at something, get the information you need. The SoundVision contactless device recognizes nearby objects and obstacles and helps enhance the user’s level of orientation.

The device can also tackle a few other challenges for visually impaired, such as deteriorated or missing colour or light recognition, finding information about a current address location, or getting directions to another address.

Picture of the device
© Scalefocus - SoundVision


By combining affordable sensors with cutting-edge software without compromising the user experience, the SoundVision project will help the visually impaired live a more independent and empowered life. And it doesn't stop there as the platform will also be opened to developers around the world to create their own apps and solutions to further help the visually impaired.

"SoundVision is exceptionally innovative in the field of welfare technology: the device provides real-time information about the surrounding environment by indicating the distance to obstacles, recognising objects and colours and reading text and facilitating indoor navigation."
Krasimir Kostadinov CTO of Scalefocus
The device sees the colour green
The device recognizes and names objects and helps the users navigate their environment © Scalefocus - SoundVision


The partners behind this award-winning project (supported by the EEA and Norway Grants’ Innovation programme in Bulgaria) are the Norwegian Computing Center (NR) and Adaptor, as well as the synergia association from Bulgaria.

Soundvision partnerships
Acting Research Director Dr.rer.nat. Wolfgang Leister and Senior Researcher Trenton Schulz (PhD) testing the assistive device - © Scalefocus - SoundVision
The EEA and Norway Grants made the cooperation possible. Without the possibilities in this programme, we would not have met ScaleFocus, and we would not have been able to contribute to this innovation for the benefit of the visually impaired and blind.
Dr. rer.nat. Wolfgang Leister, Acting Research Director at the Norwegian Computing Center

All the partners played a crucial role in the research, development, and testing of the new device. “This was a good fit to our research area of digital inclusion. Bringing our R&D experience into the project, as well as contributing with the Scandinavian view and understanding of implementing such technology follows our strategy to create visible research results that can be applied in practice,” explains Acting Research Director Dr. rer.nat. Wolfgang Leister at the Norwegian Computing Center.


Working together for an accessible future

In the last decade, digital technology has become a powerful tool for disabled people. What once seemed like sci-fi is now reality: There are prosthetics that can be controlled by thought and wearable tech that can help people with mobility issues walk again.

The SoundVision is among the projects that will help bring the European Union in the forefront of the social innovation map, helping its citizens and eventually everyone with seeing disabilities to live their lives to the fullest.

Find out more about our Innovation programme in Bulgaria here
Read more about SoundVision here

Info box about the project