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Soterix Medical Improves Safe Mobility Device for Blind Toddlers

New York City –Mar 01, 2022

Soterix Medical Inc., a global leader in the design and production of smart devices treating neurological and psychiatric disorders, announces the successful partnership with Safe Toddles, a nonprofit committed to advancing access and education on assistive tools for blind toddlers. Together they obtained a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research award from the Institute of Education Sciences - US Department of Education with the goal of modernizing the pediatric belt cane through the addition of smart technology.

The first-generation pediatric belt cane was a purely mechanical device consisting of a belt attached with magnets to a rectangular frame that slides along the floor in front of the child. This first-generation cane along with a basic curriculum was developed by Safe Toddles. To enhance the capability of the wearable white cane to monitor motion and use that data to recommend a customized curriculum, Safe Toddles transferred exclusive rights for a “smart” pediatric belt cane to Soterix Medical Inc. Soterix Medical Inc. oversees all development of this next-generation cane, while Safe Toddles has continued to promote pediatric belt cane adoption and education.

Dr. Abhishek Datta, CEO and CTO of Soterix Medical summarizes “Our Phase I project was highly successful. We showed the feasibility of a smart belt capable of tracking the physical activity of children wearing the pediatric belt cane and a beta app incorporating the early intervention orientation and mobility curriculum for teaching the pediatric belt cane. We are grateful to the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) – US Department of Education (ED) for this award, allowing us to develop the smart belt prototype”. Mr. Yishai Valter, Product Engineer of Soterix Medical, adds, “The motion data was used in testing early concepts of integrating machine learning algorithms to our solution. Our ultimate goal is to recommend personalized lessons based on the subject’s walking performance.”

Dr. Grace Ambrose-Zaken, President of Safe Toddles adds “The wearable white cane is a transformative life-trajectory altering tool for visually impaired toddlers. And no blind child should be denied access to it. Our partnership allows Soterix Medical to leverage its 14 years of success in the design and manufacturing of medical devices to create the first smart wearable white cane. This allows Safe Toddles to focus on our mission of creating educational content and promoting research around the belt cane.”

Scope: The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates approximately 7 million children aged 1-5 years are severely visually impaired worldwide (2021). In the US alone, more than 150k toddlers are visually impaired (US Census Bureau, 2019). These children are in desperate need of an effective mobility tool.

Media Contact: Mariana Shuster
Tel: +1-888-990-8327

At Soterix Medical Inc., Engineering Serving Humanity means that we're committed to bring the most advanced medical technology into the hands of people who need it. The commitment underpins everything we do.

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