Startup Europe Awards

TOOTEKO, winner of SEUA Italy in Tourism category


Country: Italy

Category: Tourism

Name: Tooteko

Project aim: to develop a device that combines touch and hearing to help the visually impaired to visualize objects that they couldn’t experience otherwise.

What is Tooteko?

Tooteko is a smart wearable device that enables blind people to perceive the world through touch and hearing. It’s simple: you touch the object, you listen to the audio comment. In this way, we transform tactile models of artworks into speaking models, thus allowing an interactive and independent exploration.

Tooteko is made of 3 elements, namely: a high-tech ring that detects NFC tags and communicates in wireless mode with the smart device, a tactile surface tagged with sensors and – an app for tablet or smartphone.

How does it work?

If brought near to an NFC sensor, Tooteko allows you to receive an audio feedback on your smart device in return, via a dedicated app compatible with all platforms. During tactile exploration the sensors are triggered by the nearness of the finger tips. What is unique about Tooteko is that the explanation is activated by the contact of the ring on the different parts of the model: if I touch an art feature I will get the explanation of that specific detail. Contents can be tailored in relation to the users’ preferences in terms of language, competence, age, etc.

Where do you want to implement it? 

Museums and open spaces in general still have to be bridge the gap to a full social inclusion. Despite the recent progress, social inclusion is still a chimera and several cultural heritage organizations and entities are struggling to offer innovative solution for including vulnerable targets into their exhibition path.

What are you aiming at? 

We started as a University Research in 2012, with the aim of giving a better quality of life to blind people, through technology.  We first combined 3d printed models with audio tracks using different technologies. We adopted the NFC technology in a small wearable device with tangible benefits that we registered in multiple focus groups.

We are now in a development phase with a project at the Ara Pacis Museum in Rome, that is going to be launched in February 2017.