Aistin Technologies team photo

Aistin Technologies founding team from left to right: Albert Manninen, Jari Takala and Priit Jaanson.

Jan 17, 2024

Presenting Health Incubator Helsinki batch 4 companies:

Independence for the visually impaired through Aistin Technologies’ intuitive smart cane

The new intuitive smart cane will make it possible for people affected by blindness to get more freedom to walk outside and explore new paths with increased independence. Aistin Technologies has created an innovative smart cane with optical 3D mapping technology that enables blind and visually impaired persons to observe their surroundings with increased accuracy. Aistin Technologies was selected into the Health Incubator Helsinki program in 2023.

Most people are familiar with car-parking sensors which alert drivers of obstructed obstacles around the car. The car sensor alerts that something is nearby, but doesn’t inform what the obstacle is, or what one should do about it. Current smart canes on the market utilize a similar feature to warn users about approaching obstacles. This is an improvement as users of traditional white canes often acquire head injuries from overhanging objects.

However, constant alerting about anything being close-by in crowded environments leaves users overwhelmed and unsure if the route is free or not.

“Just knowing that there is something in front of you is not enough,” Aistin co-founder, Albert Manninen, says.

Aistin takes a different approach by helping people feel the details of their surroundings, effectively giving shape and identity to the environment. This is done by the patented optical 3D sensor, built inside of the white cane handle providing a tactile miniaturized map of the surroundings to the user’s fingertips.

Just knowing that there is something in front of you is not enough.

Expertise and experience are the two main ingredients

Aistin’s co-founders Albert Manninen, Priit Jaanson, and Jari Takala already have over 50 years of combined experience in engineering and manufacturing. Therefore, when they encountered a problem that needed a solution within their areas of expertise, they decided to give it a go. Soon enough, their solution felt good enough to pursue as a business.

Naturally, the team has been working closely with the Finnish Federation of the Visually Impaired Association to learn first-hand what kind of problems blind people have, and what needs and expectations the innovation should meet.

The team is in the process of finalizing the prototype of their intuitive smart cane equipped with complex algorithms and an intuitive feedback method for final testing. The product will be commercially available already in 2024 with the relevant medical device approvals in place.

Aistin Technologies logo

Aistin Technologies Fast Facts

Name: Aistin Technologies

Tech in one sentence: 3D optics translated into a sensory map of the environment

Target product: Intuitive smart cane allowing users to feel and understand their surroundings

Target market launch: 2024

Founded: 2023

Team size: 3

Funding raised (by 10/2023): Raising pre-seed round

Health Incubator Helsinki supports businesses at every stage – even seasoned professionals

Even with a well-developed product and years of experience, Aistin decided to join Health Incubator Helsinki because the expertise and know-how from the program are valuable to companies at all stages – from teams forming companies to seasoned professionals. Specifically, they are aware of how difficult it is to bring a health technology product into the market, therefore it was a huge asset to join a program where several of the advisors and peer companies have done exactly that.

“The advisors are great. Everybody is helpful, skilled and enthusiastic,” Manninen says, “You don’t get just a tap on the shoulder; you actually get constructive advice and feedback.”

It’s a great business, and at the same time we get to help people and change many lives for the better.

Perfect time to invest in optical technology

Aistin is creating a unique solution for a complex problem. Recently, the technology that makes this innovation possible became affordable, mass manufacturable, and scalable. Through Health Incubator Helsinki, the team can take advantage of networking opportunities with investors, established healthcare industry experts, innovation entrepreneurs, and advisors. The team already has some investors in place, but is always looking for additional investors.

Once the investments have been secured, the team will search for additional talents and collaborators to join them.

“It’s a great business, and at the same time we get to help people and change many lives for the better,” Manninen enthuses.

If you’re interested in investing in Aistin, or want to discuss a potential collaboration, please feel free to contact the company! 

Text: Rita Turpin, Giuliano Didio