Incubated in the X-Up #11 and X-Up #12 classes, the RunBlind startup is now part of the X-Tech program. Today, 285 million people are blind or visually impaired in the world. Thanks to its dynamic 3D sound guidance solution, RunBlind allows to alleviate this important problem.
A real market to conquer
RunBlind's ambition is to guide people with its dynamic 3D sound technology. It takes up and industrializes the research work carried out by the Center of Applied Mathematics of the École Polytechnique.
The startup responds to a real problem: accessibility to sports for blind or visually impaired people. The idea is simple: to use dynamic 3D sound, also called binaural sound, to guide people practicing a sport. Binaural sound is an auditory artifact, i.e. an apparent sound that is perceived in the brain due to a specific physical stimulus. So far, studies have not resulted in a device that is sufficiently portable and responsive for sports practice.
In theory, the device is in a backpack that weighs 2.7kg and is therefore impractical. But RunBlind has succeeded in developing a miniaturized version of the device which today weighs only 180g: the weight of a cell phone.
The idea for the project came from two researchers: François Alouges, a mathematics researcher, and a PhD student, Sylvain Ferrand. It was founded in cooperation with Philippe Le Borgne, a graduate in computer science and creator of several companies in this field.
The passage through X-Up and the integration of X-Tech
The X-Up incubation program brought RunBlind skills in the field of communication but also help to create their business model and a lot of input regarding industrial protection and patents.
During the X-Up program, RunBlind was able to choose three very complementary mentors who are very useful to them, whether on strategic, financial or operational aspects.
Being an entrepreneur is a state of mind: you think about it all the time, without stopping - Philippe Le Borgne, Co-founder and CEO
The integration of the X-Tech gas pedal will allow them to remain in the Polytechnique ecosystem, which is particularly important to them. Moreover, François Alouges (Co-founder and CPO) is a researcher at the Ecole Polytechnique and Sylvain Ferrand is a research engineer there: it is therefore important for RunBlind to remain on campus.
RunBlind in a few years?
The next steps for the startup will be to market the product in an even more accomplished and miniaturized way than today. RunBlind also wishes to open up to other markets, in particular by integrating its technology for rollerblading or even cycling... whereas currently, it is mainly used for running.
The two markets currently targeted are leisure and even competition. The Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games could be a very important showcase for RunBlind. However, other much larger markets are also being considered.
"RunBlind, follow us with your eyes closed”