If you are visually impaired, you know what a challenge it can be to swim freely without any assistance. First point, the wall is not your friend. If your swimming at top speed, and you can’t see that you are approaching the wall, it isn’t going to turnout well for you. Also, it can be a challenge to stay in your swimming lane and out of the way of other swimmers.
IBM took on this challenge by developing a system of Bluetooth beacons and haptic devices to help the blind swimmers. Sense Bluetooth doesn’t work under water, they placed Bluetooth beacons on a steel wire that runs 4 to 5 feet above the water along the center of the lane. The swimmers ware a device on their heads beneath their swimming caps that vibrate more intensely as they stay centered. So far, the tests have yielded very positive results, and the blinds swimmers feel a sense of freedom that they haven’t felt before.