Today, Not Impossible Labs, the leader in technology for social good, announced the product availability roadmap for the Sonic Localizer – a sound bar array developed to help those with visual impairments navigate built environments such as skate or terrain parks.
This technology was developed in collaboration with Zappos and Justin Bishop, a visually impaired skateboarder from Las Vegas.
The Sonic Localizer was unveiled earlier this month at the Dew Tour, and now Not Impossible is on a mission to make this technology available to any visually impaired or other individuals in need at no cost to the user. Not Impossible will partner with companies to produce the first 300 sets of Sonic Localizers with a goal of making them available by June 2020. Zappos has already signed on to sponsor this next generation of the project.
This unique audio-based assistive technology was born from a Not Impossible “Absurdity Project” with Zappos. As part of their commitment to technology for the sake of humanity, Not Impossible Labs works with companies and their employees to identify an absurdity in our modern world and then dedicates to making a difference for those impacted with a promise to solve that challenge. By crowd-solving issues of inability and inaccessibility, Not Impossible Labs creates low cost solutions that can scale to many people in need.
“You can’t help but be inspired when you see Justin skate with the assistive technology we’ve created together,” said Mick Ebeling, founder of Not Impossible Labs. “We want to make this technology available to anyone who needs it. We’ll keep making them as long as there is need, and thanks to the support of Zappos, Erik Weihenmayer and other sponsors to come, the vision of creating and shipping these Sonic Localizers is Not Impossible.”
Justin Bishop was on a trajectory to become a pro skateboarder when a genetic disorder left him visually impaired at age 25 – derailing his dream. A fellow skateboarder and Zappos employee was inspired to bring this challenge to a Zappos company-wide meeting and proposed that Zappos adopt this Absurdity Project to help Justin skate again.
The innovative speaker technology provides geographic markers for the visually impaired allowing them to safely navigate around the park. Just this month, Justin has secured three sponsors: Zappos.com, Nixon, and Electric — allowing him to return to his passion for skateboarding. Justin recently skated with the Sonic Localizer at the Dew Tour in Long Beach, CA and released his part.
“At Zappos, we believe passion and determination should influence all aspects of life, and by embracing this belief and joining forces with Not Impossible’s Absurdity Project, we were able to help make Justin’s dream of being a sponsored skater a reality,” said Tyler Williams, Director of Brand Experience, Zappos. “We are looking forward to seeing his inspirational story encourage others to follow in his footsteps and achieve the seemingly impossible.”
Not Impossible Lab’s first accessibility partner is Erik Weihenmayer, author, activist and the first blind person to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Even as retinoschisis began to rob Weihenmayer of his vision by the age of 14, he resisted the idea that blindness would hold him back from achieving his dreams. Weihenmayer is committed to making the Sonic Localizer available both personally and through his No Barriers initiative, which encourages youth of all abilities and backgrounds to tackle their own Everest-size challenges. Not Impossible is actively looking for additional partners to assist with manufacturing and distribution to bring the Sonic Localizer to market.
Companies interested in collaborating on this or other Not Impossible projects can visit: https://www.notimpossible.com/project-bishop
About Not Impossible Labs:
Founded on the principle of Technology for the Sake of Humanity, Not Impossible Labs LLC is a one-of-a-kind, award winning technology incubator and content studio dedicated to changing the world through technology and story. Since 2008, Not Impossible Labs has engineered, programmed, hacked and crowd-solved issues of inability and inaccessibility and provided low-cost solutions for the most vulnerable on our planet. Along with our community of passionate and talented engineers, makers, idea generators and storytellers, we are making the impossible, Not Impossible. For more information, please visit www.notimpossiblelabs.com.