AI start-up Field of Vision wins LaunchBox 2021

30 Aug 2021

Field of Vision’s founders: David Deneher, COO; Omar Salem, CEO; and Tim Farrelly, CTO. Image: Paul Sharp.

Field of Vision’s device aims to help visually impaired soccer fans by giving them a tactile view of the action.

Field of Vision, a tech start-up aiming to help visually impaired people enjoy live sports, has been crowned the winner of LaunchBox 2021.

The annual accelerator is managed by Trinity College Dublin’s entrepreneurship space Tangent and sponsored by Bank of Ireland. Student start-ups receive funding, mentorship, contacts with alumni and investors, and “a collaborative environment to launch new ventures” throughout the summer.

This year, 10 projects were selected from among the many applicants with ideas such as a seaweed-based bioplastic and a platform to combat loneliness among university students.

The programme’s final, Demo Day, was held yesterday (29 August) and saw the teams pitch their ideas to a panel of angel investors and venture capitalists, with Field of Vision emerging victorious.

The project is based around a handheld device meant for visually impaired soccer fans. Its team is made up of COO David Deneher, CEO Omar Salem and CTO Tim Farrelly

It uses computer vision and AI to translate the movement of the ball on the pitch into the movement of a finger-piece on the surface of the device. Vibrating motors inside give additional tactile feedback on tackles, passes and kicks, and audio commentary can be streamed through an accompanying headset.

The start-up’s founders says the surface of the tablet, which is laid out with the markings of a football pitch, has the potential to be reconfigured for other sports in future. The Field of Vision device is also portable and capable of 5G, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.

Ken Finnegan, Tangent’s CEO, said: “At Tangent, Trinity’s Ideas Workspace, we emphasise the importance of agility and innovation in all of our courses and programmes, and it has never been more necessary and important than in the current climate.

“Both the LaunchBox programme and the LaunchBox start-ups have demonstrated unparalleled flexibility and innovation in the move to a fully online programme and are a testament to the culture of creativity and adaptability here in Trinity.”

Michael McLoughlin, head of mobile sales force at Bank of Ireland, added: “Trinity is known as a community of innovators, and this reputation is undoubtedly sustained thanks in no small part to LaunchBox. Bank of Ireland is delighted to champion Ireland’s next generation entrepreneurs, and I look forward to seeing what’s next for the winning team.”

As Tangent’s flagship accelerator for third-level students draws to a close for 2021, the organisation is collaborating with Trinity Walton Club on the STEAM+ICE incubator for secondary school students.

Jack Kennedy is a freelance journalist based in Dublin