Keith Kirkland, Co-Founder of WearWorks.
WearWorks®, is a haptic platform company that builds products and experiences that communicate information through touch.
[00:02 – 03:45] Keith Kirkland
Haptic means touch and touch is a more inclusive way to communicate information. Hi, my name is Keith Kirkland. I’m a 42 year old black American male with shoulder length locs, and I’m the co-founder of Wear Works.
Several years ago, we got a call from a marathoner who was blind. He wanted to know if we could help him fulfil his dream of running in the biggest marathon in the world without being tethered to a guide.
WearWorks is a haptic platform company. We build products and experiences that use the skin as a communications channel to deliver information in a more intuitive and less obtrusive way. We took on the challenge and just eight months later, he made history as the first person who was blind to run in the New York City Marathon without sighted assistance. And he did it using our very first product, WayBand. And in this video you can see him finishing the race.
Navigation is inherently visual and we all use it almost every day. The space is dominated by Google through Maps and Waze, but they, like all mapping applications, rely heavily on visual cues, and visual based navigation is not always safe. Oftentimes it’s not practical. And for 285 million people worldwide living with a visual impairment, it’s a real problem. So we invented WayBand, a haptic navigation app and an optional wristband that gently guides you to your destination using only vibration.
The WayBand app can be used with your smartphone in your hand or it can be paired with our WayBand wristband for a hands free experience. The way it works as you type or say where you want to go, confirm and you’ll be guided to your destination using our patented haptic corridor. When you’re in the corridor, you feel nothing. Swivel slightly to the left or the right and WayBand will gently nudge you back on the right path using your own natural sense of touch.
We’ve tested with thousands of people and most can figure out the correct way to go within seconds without any instructions, it’s that intuitive.
We’re initially targeting young, blind and visually impaired students and professionals, and we’ve already pre sold half of our initial production to partners at Massachusetts Commission for the Blind Lighthouse Guild, Helen Keller, the New York City Department of Education, and several Paralympians. Through these influencers and channel partners, we have access to millions of potential customers that trust us.
Our team has the deep expertise in touch. Kevin is an internationally award winning industrial designer, and I worked on a suit that would allow a person to download and learn kung fu using only vibrations. We both have been exploring haptics for over nine years and we’re backed by a world class and diverse team.
We’ve done the hard R&D, proven the technology, built the team and made history. In addition to selling WayBands, we see a part of our business model being driven by licensing accessible haptic navigation.
We’ve already been in talks with organizations such as Airbnb, Disney and Google.
Haptics are going to change the world for everyone. Navigation is just the beginning of our journey and we’d love to have you along. We’re raising a Round. The WayBand app is available right now and this QR code will let you try it out on us for a month for free. Download it now and we’re looking for connections. The heads of accessibility and government, university schools, military and enterprise.
Thank you very much. And please keep in touch.
DOWNLOAD A WORD VERSION OF THE TRANSCRIPT HERE.
Follow WearWorks on Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.