11th July 2022
WeWALK, a London-based EIT Health-supported start-up, has recently secured £1.7M in funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Innovate UK. This was raised as part of the Healthy Ageing Challenge, partnering withImperial College London and the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB). WeWALK creates software-enabled products to help visually impaired people live safer, more independent lives. This investment will be used to develop a new computer vision-aided solution to ease mobility, from catching the right bus to navigating the busiest streets.
According to the World Health Organization, there are approximately 253M people living with visual impairments worldwide, with 700M elderly people gradually experiencing sight loss with age. The assistive tech market is expected to reach $33.2BN by 2027 as an ageing population causes this market to grow. This cohort of the population is often reliant on the standard support cane as a visual aid and mobility tool.
WeWALK has developed a new solution with the aim of transforming mobility for the visually impaired. With WeWALK’s Smart Cane, users can rely on sensors that detect obstacles when they are on the move, being prompted via a vibration as they draw nearer. The WeWALK App guides user with voice navigation and voice assistant services.
Commenting on the funding Kürsat Ceylan, Co-Founder and CPO at WeWALK said,
“We are delighted and excited to be embarking on this new project with our partners, thanks to the support of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). Computer vision has limitless potential in solving mobility problems experienced by visually impaired and older people, from identifying landmarks to navigating complex spaces. Our specialist knowledge and that of our partners, which have an in-depth understanding of overcoming the barriers to using mobility technology, provide an ideal platform in developing new and effective solutions.”
“We created WeWALK to help the world’s 253 million visually impaired people live safer, more independent lives. And we are determined to continue our global expansion, and deliver new features for our users. This is why WeWALK is now open for investment. Following our successful participation in EIT Health programmes such as Patient Innovation Bootcamp and Investor Network, WeWALK has just launched a campaign on Crowdcube.
We hope you will join us to help shape our future and share our successes as we grow.”
EIT Health’s Patient Innovation Bootcamp, that WeWALK participated on is a programme to help teams that include a patient and/or informal caregiver who have developed an innovative solution related to the personal health condition they face.
Marc Butterly, Business Creation Lead at EIT Health Ireland-UK said,
“We congratulate the WeWALK team in this latest success on their mission to improve the lives of those with visual impairments via the smart cane and environmental data. During the EIT Health Patient Innovation Bootcamp 2020, WeWALK engaged with key stakeholders for reimbursement and scaled up their production of the cane with their investor and manufacturing partner Vestel Ventures.”
WeWALK is now looking to raise £1.5M investment from VCs and crowdfunding to accelerate global expansion and add new software features to the WeWALK Smart Cane. To learn more or get involved in WeWALK’s journey, check out their crowdfunding campaign on CrowdCube.