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Project Bishop

Creating improved navigation technology for the blind.

5:44

A blind skateboarder goes pro with new navigation technology.

Not Impossible Labs worked with a visually impaired skateboarder named Justin Bishop and Tony Long, an aerospace engineer, to create technology that helps Justin navigate with his sense of hearing.

The Absurdity

Justin Bishop has always been an avid skateboarder with the dream of going pro, but he began to lose his sight due to retinitis pigmentosa in his twenties. Justin still skates but is limited by his ability to navigate new environments.

The Goal

To create technology Justin can use to skate freely in any environment.

The Solution

  • Develop Speaker System

    Not Impossible teamed up with Zappos and engineer Tony Long to develop a phased array speaker system that creates a concentrated beam of sound. Inspired by beeper boxes already on the market, Justin can place the phased array speaker system around the skatepark to create acoustical markers so he can navigate with his sense of hearing.

  • Get More Air

    Justin is now a sponsored professional skateboarder. Before using the “sonic localizer“ tech he was skating by muscle memory. Now he is learning new tricks, confidently getting more speed. Now that he's getting more air, he says skating is “dangerous” again.

I call it a soundscape, because I can map out what I’m skating in my head by the different sounds and how it’s hitting my ears.

– Justin Bishop

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