The three essential skills to using Sunu Band as a mobility aid

I. The personal zone or space

The user must first be able to interpret the vibration feedback when an object or obstacle is within their personal space, i.e. with 1.5-2 feet (0.5 meters). We recommend that users begin learning how to interpret when an object is present and then absent from within their personal space or zone. A simple exercise can be done with two people (the student and instructor). 

  1. A person standing in front of the user at 1.5-2 feet away. The user wearing the Sunu Band brings their hands to their side. Make sure that the user is aiming the sonar sensor directly ahead of them. The user may have the palm of their hands flat against the side of the thigh to insure that the sonar is aiming directly forward.
  2. Ask the user what vibration sensation they are feeling. The user should be feeling constant vibration due to the close proximity of the other person.
  3. Now the person in front of the user moves away, leaving no obstacle directly in front of the user. Ask the user what they are feeling now. The user should not be feeling any vibration pulses. 

II. Knowing your proximity to an object or obstacle

The proximity skills insure that users are able to interpret the Sunu Band’s vibration feedback to know how far, or close they are to an object. It is important for the user to understand how the vibration feedback varies as a function of distance. This skill may be learned by doing a few simple exercises. The first exercise can be done with two people, an instructor and student wearing the Sunu Band. 

  1. Have the student stand in place and with their hands to their side to insure that the sonar sensor is aiming directly ahead of the user.
  2. Now the second person [instructor] can stand in front and in close proximity to the user. Similar to the exercise above, ask the user what they’re perceiving with the Sunu Band. The user should be feeling constant vibration. 
  3. Now the second person [instructor] steps away from the user, insuring that they remain in the same direction to where the sonar is aiming. Again, ask the user to describe what vibrations they’re feeling as the second person [instructor] is moving further away from the user. 
  4. Now repeat the exercise, having the second person approach and get closer to the Sunu Band user.

Another exercise involves having the Sunu Band user walk towards a large known obstacle. Have the user walk towards (and away) from a wall is a safe and controlled way of getting them to master the proximity skill. 

Have the Sunu Band user repeat this exercise. By this point the user should be able to gage when they should stop before getting to close to the wall. 

III. Orienting yourself to nearby objects in a space

This second skill allows users to now gage the relative position of nearby objects (those at close range) to themselves in space. This skill can be learned through a series of exercises where the user can:

  • Identify general position: if an object is to the left, center or right
  • Count the number of nearby objects.
  • Estimate the position and relative distance of nearby objects in relationship to themselves

The user may practice the pointing and scanning techniques without having to walk around. This helps continue building trust with the Sunu Band.