This summer, I discovered with great enthusiasm the start-up PANDA. Like Authôt, this start-up also wants to make the world more accessible thanks to technology. PANDA is a connected helmet that will aim to improve and transform the everyday life of visually impaired people. An exciting project that Jeremy was kind enough to introduce me:
Hello Jeremy, can you introduce yourself in a few words?
My name is Jeremy, I am 28 years old, I live in Paris, and I have the pleasure to lead the PANDA project – A project with a high social impact, it's something that is part of me.
What motivates you in the morning?
Get up and try to be better than the day before, knowing that I wouldn't be as good as tomorrow. Gather my energy to solve positive projects motivates me.
Introduce PANDA in a few words
PANDA-Guide is the first hearing augmented reality helmet that gives back their autonomy to blind and visually impaired people. We make audiodescription of the environment using a helmet equipped with sensors connected to an artificial intelligence.
Where does this idea of a "helmet for visually impaired people" come from?
Arnaud Lenglet, co-founder of the PANDA project, has a long-time blind friend, she had an accident, falling on the subway tracks. Arnaud worked in computer development related to service robotics. On that day, he thought to himself that the technologies available in service robotics and AI could prevent such accidents occuring again. Many existing technologies can facilitate the daily lives of blind and visually impaired people. This is where the PANDA project was born.
Why this name "PANDA" by the way?
The Panda is one of the few mammals born blind. During the first weeks of its life its eyes are not yet formed, so it must be guided by its mother! But PANDA is also the anagram for Personal Assistant for Natural Daily Autonomy.
What are your development areas?
We have an R&D department to design the prototype of the helmet, which is the electronic part and the design of first models of the helmet, including functional bricks. We also train our AI, to be able to recognize as many objects as possible.
How long have you been at PANDA?
The PANDA project was launched in December 2016, the company was registered in February 2017, I joined it in April 2017 for the communication and community relations sides.
Tell me a memorable / funny anecdote that you lived in your experience.
I spent 24 hours blind, from Monday noon to Tuesday noon, blindfolded, without seeing the daylight. It was a very rewarding experience. Before that, I was trained in the use of digital accessibility tools, I was also trained in the use of a white cane. It was a great experience, I recommend it to everyone, even for only 2 or 3 hours, but beware, you have to be accompanied.
A quotation that defines PANDA?
"Nothing is more liberating than fighting for a cause greater than yourself."
What are your values?
Humility – Empathy – Self giving- Inclusion –
Is accessibility for all your goal?
Yes! A more inclusive and accessible society is desirable!
A word about the iOT?
The iOT is at its very beginning, in the next few years we're going to see an explosion of connected objects (9 billion objects in 2017 and 20 billion in 2020), which will impact all sectors of activity, for, I hope, a more efficient society.
Are you accessible on Mac? PC? iPhone? Android?
We are now developing our techno on an iOS application only. But tools like VoiceOver or TalkBack, NVDA, can make accessible Mac, PC, iPhone, Android…
Technology? What's that for? what meaning do you give it?
I would simply say that technology must be available to many people as possible and must have a positive impact on the world. We, at PANDA, are very committed to putting our skills at the service of the best, the good. Developing a techno in the disability sector, we are convinced that we will be able to make a difference for visually impaired people.
If you could give some advice to the younger generations?
Question yourself every day!
Do you have a film or TV shows to recommend?
What comes do mind now is the movie Watchmen for the character Rorschach mainly, if not, the report Food. inc or Cowspiracy. For the shows, right now I'm watching Black Mirror.
One last word, don't forget, PANDA is "eyes in the ears"! Find us on www.panda-guide.fr and join us to create a more inclusive world!
Thanks you Jeremy