Seiichi Miyake was born in 1926 in Kurashiki,
in the prefecture of Okayama, Japan.
He had a very good friend, Hideyuki Iwahashi. One day, his friend began to lose vision and soon he was diagnosed as going blind.
The sincere desire to help his friend led him to a staggering invention.
In 1965 Miyake invented tactile paving by investing his own money.
It featured two tactile patterns that people with disabilities can detect with a cane or with their feet.
Blocks with lines in relief are directional indicators and blocks with floating circles are attention indicators.
Tenji blocks were first installed in the Japanese city of Okayama on March 18, 1967, next to a school for the blind.
Ten years later, tactile slabs became mandatory on the Japan National Railroad.
Since then, Mr. Miyaki's invention has been implemented worldwide, established as a standard and universal design.
It implied an incredible advance in the mobility of blind people and continues to be a revolution today.
But there was an unsolved challenge. How did users know, when they reached a stop point or intersection, where to go?
Years later, in Europe, a group of Spanish researchers from the University of Alicante, together with the innovative technological solutions company Neosistec, began to work on developing solutions aimed at improving the autonomy and quality of life of people with visual disability.
With this objective, they got to work and, after almost ten years of research, they manage to develop a new and revolutionary system of digital color markers based on artificial vision: NaviLens.
These markers allow for seamless integration into the tactile pavement, indicating to blind people when they reach an intersection, the different options where they can go based on their route or direction. This way, Navilens is enhancing the work started by Seiichi Miyaki in a very effective way.
NaviLens markers can be automatically read from a smartphone at a great distance, helping orientation and providing accessible information.
To do this, the marker recognition algorithm is complemented by an innovative 3D sonification system that, without the need for headphones, informs the user of the position, distance and orientation to the marker.
It's a cool invention, right? And now, would you like to see how is working today to help visually-impaired users across the world? Don't miss this video!
NaviLens wants to pay a sincere tribute to this inventor who demonstrated that with perseverance and courage you can change the lives of many people and make a better world.