We are .lumen. We empower the blind.
When? Today .lumen announces the first innovative glasses aimed at enhancing the mobility of the visually impaired.
Who? .lumen was founded by Cornel Amariei - a Romanian inventor, entrepreneur and a member of the firstForbes 30 under 30 Europe list, Gabriel Chindris - a professor in electrical engineering at the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca - and Mihai Ivascu - CEO & Founder of M3 Holdings and the Ingenium group.
Why? Well… for the greater good!
Cornel was born in a family where both of his parents suffer from advanced locomotive handicap. In other words, they were faced with the impossibility of walking without help. Growing up in such an environment did not only make Cornel realize the impact disabilities have on people, but also stirred his curiosity. In the years that followed, he was lucky enough to meet Gabriel Chindris and Mihai Ivascu, with whom Cornel shared the same ideal: that of creating meaning for the greater good.
There are over 40 million blind people out there and, when it comes to their mobility, the solutions they normally use are thousands of years old. Unfortunately, despite all technological advancement, the walking stick and the guide dog still represent their best options in this matter.
Nowadays, the guide dog is unanimously accepted as being the best solution for providing walking assistance to the visually impaired. However, this option is not a scalable one. Their ability to orient themselves in the world around us and understand contextual information - such as guiding us towards an empty seat or avoiding hazards in our proximity - makes them the perfect caretaker for a person with visual disabilities. Nonetheless, there are some drawbacks that need to be considered. Training such a dog could cost up to 60 thousand dollars. It is a complex process that begins a few days after birth. The guide dogs are not allowed to interact with other animals or individuals without the user's permission. Moreover, blind people cannot take care of a guide dog on their own. Due to this, there are only 20,000 guide dogs to 40 million blind individuals.
How does .lumen help?
By using Robotics and advanced Artificial Intelligence technologies, .lumen behaves like a virtual guide dog in the form of a pair of glasses. Once the user puts them on, they become capable of acknowledging their position and movements in 3D, understand where they are and how they can interact with the environment around them. Moreover, they are able to understand where they can go.
To put it differently: if until now the dog used to guide his owner by pulling his hand, .lumen will do the same, except that the focus will shift from the hand to his forehead.
Where are we standing?
.lumen is to end its pre-production level at the end of March 2021. Production and shipping are programmed to start in the second half of 2021.
So far, we built over 60 designs for the glasses, including 8 generations which passed the industrial design optimizations. .lumen has been constantly testing all technological aspects with more than 200 individuals with visual impairment, turning the blind - during this work process - into a significant, active presence.
From an Idea to a Social Impact Startup
.lumen represents a unique solution addressed to the blind. Our singularity relies in targeting the mobility sector, to positively influence the social life of people with visual disabilities. It is our belief that increased mobility results in improved education, employment, and social life for the blind.
Furthermore, .lumen is aligned with UN's SDGs by targeting 4 main goals:
· to ensure quality education opportunities for everyone - Goal 4
· to support an inclusive, sustainable economic environment - Goal 8
· to reduce inequality - Goal 10
· to make human settlements more inclusive - Goal 11
We have a 4-step plan designed to maximize the impact:
The first step is almost completed. It consisted of understanding the issue, designing a prototype, testing, and validating the technical solutions and preparing for the market entry. The second step focuses on delivering the product on markets with high-purchasing power. This way, we will be able to further fund the research and development department, to enhance the functionalities of our product and come up with a lower cost option. Consequently, in step 3, countries with medium purchasing power will be able to benefit from our system too. Lastly, the final step is all about the emergence on the market of the third version of .lumen - an optimized and affordable one.
In the end, .lumen has the purpose of creating meaning, not money.
Who are we?
.lumen has a team of over 30 members coming from various, complementary domains, such as: engineering, science, disability studies, design and business development.
At the helm, there is Cornel Amariei as CEO, a former Head of Innovation in the Automotive Field, Forbes 30 under 30 Europe. Also, he is the first Romanian to win the prestigious Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World award, by JCI; award previously won by individuals such as JFK and Elvis Preseley.
Dr. Gabriel Chindris operates as CTO and is a professor in electronics at the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Gabriel founded a research center with 15 researchers, designing hundreds of prototypes and products for fields such as automotive, consumer goods and even space exploration.
Mihai Ivascu is the Chairman of the Board of .lumen. Mihai is the CEO and Founder of M3 Holdings, which contains 3 high-growth companies: Moneymailme, M3 Payments and Modex. More than this, Mihai founded the Ingenium group, which has 60 software developers, engineers and sales which activate in London, Bucharest and Washington, DC. Mihai Ivascu has been awarded Forbes 30 under 30 and was a finalist in Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year.
Hello, World! We are .lumen. Nice to see you!