What We Do
We build next generation assistive technology to expand human capabilities.
We help the visually impaired achieve functional independence to improve their quality of life.
We aid civil servants by augmenting their spatial perception to help them stay safe on their mission.
We serve the visually incapacitated in all walks of life.
The Visually Impaired
There are over 14 million people in the United States who are visually impaired or blind. For many, the only solution they are provided is the white cane – a solution invented in 1921 and which has seen little innovation since.
It takes 100’s of hours to master the white cane and even when mastered, it cannot detect above knee obstacles and can miss objects in the users path. We provide intuitive solutions which require much less training, tactile feedback, independence and mobility, and safety when navigating the world.
There are over 1 million first responders in the United States – dedicated individuals who put their lives on the line every day for our safety and wellbeing. While in the fire ground, firefighters have limited visibility, the noise can limit hearing, gear must be carried, and they must act fast in rapidly changing conditions. Any tools to help navigate when vision is impaired, find people in distress, or detect flashover risk must not rely on sight or audio and ideally should not be handheld. Our solutions are wearable and they sense hazards and obstacles around the wearer and communicate this back to the user via tactile feedback – allowing hands, ears & eyes to focus on fighting fires and saving lives.
The Eyeronman, is a hands-free, wearable platform with a variety of sensors retrofitted directly into an article of exterior clothing. It is optimized to detect environmental obstacles and maximize safety for end user’s through superior situation awareness. The information is communicated to the user via a hands-free, vibrational belt that is worn as a second, internal layer. This vibro-tactile feedback system translates the sensor data (which is in 3-D) to 2-D tactile information. Using these vibrations, the user can find or avoid obstacles, navigate safely, understand the dangers in their environment around them, or understand the distance/direction of objects or people. The system does not impact the user’s hearing and allows them to have full use of their hands.
The Eyeronman is not only for the visually impaired, it has dramatic implications for soldiers in combat, policemen, and firefighters who transiently have their vision impaired by smoke from fires, arrests at night, IED explosions, etc.
The Eyeronman wearable consists of two core components:
The External Wearable: an outer layer which has sensors embedded which sense the users’ environment, and
The Internal Wearable: an inner layer which has vibrating elements which communicate what the sensors detect into tactile feedback.
The Dragonfly is the product of years of research and development to improve the capabilities offered to the visually impaired in the form of a re-imagined navigation tool. Unlike the traditional white cane, there is no swinging required, reducing training requirements and the cognitive burden required.
The cane integrates a highly novel winged mechanism that can be deployed from a collapsed position along the shaft of a more conventional straight cane. When deployed, this winged cane is used in the simplified “push-clear” method, during which the cane is literally pushed forward in its open state to either immediately clear the path or not cleared secondary to detecting an obstacle. The wings are set to provide almost 2 feet of horizontal width to ensure adequate path clearance during travel. The Dragonfly incorporates an easy to use folding mechanism which enables the user to easily retract the wings in seconds for a much smaller cane footprint and to adopt a more exploratory cane navigation strategy. The cane is made of specialized materials for improved weight and increased durability!
JR Rizzo, MD
FOUNDER / CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER
Dr. Rizzo is the Founder and Chief Medical Advisor of Tactile Navigation Tools. He is a Physician Scientist and an Assistant Professor at NYULMC in the Departments of Rehabilitation Medicine and Neurology. He is the Director of the Visuomotor Integration Laboratory (VMIL). He completed his bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience at NYU with Honors, his MD degree at New York Medical College with Honors (Alpha Omega Alpha-Iota Chapter), his residency training in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Rusk with a chief year, and his clinical research fellowship between NYU’s Center for Neural Science / Department of Psychology and NYULMC’s Rusk Rehab. Currently, Dr. Rizzo’s research interests are in the areas of eye-hand coordination In acquired brain injury, functional vision, visuo-motor integration, assistive technology and technology translation.
Todd Hudson, PhD
PARTNER / CHIEF TECHNOLOGY ADVISER
Dr. Hudson is Chief Technology Adviser to Tactile Navigation Tools. Dr. Hudson is a Research Scientist at the NYU Center for Neural Science, his research interests include Bayesian decision theory, mathematical modeling, Bayesian data analysis, systems neuroscience, saccade/oculomotor control, and movement planning. He earned his PhD in Visual Psychophysics with a focus on Neuroscience; and Mathematical Modeling from Columbia University.
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
Michael Dybicz is CEO of Tactile Navigation Tools. He is an Executive Leader with a passion to build sustainable companies which impact people’s lives and deliver value to all stakeholders. Mr. Dybicz is an accomplished technology and healthcare executive with 20+ years of experience in finance, venture capital, healthcare, medical devices, consumer products, e-commerce, technology and software development. He has helped drive operational excellence, growth, as well as product and business development for scratch start-ups, Fortune 500 firms, as well as for private equity and venture capital groups (focusing on turnarounds, platform plays and growth opportunities) . He holds an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University and a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Jerry Bratkovich is a nationally recognized expert on management issues with a focus on Corporate and Business Development. He has broad experience in a wide range of business transactions, including Mergers & Acquisitions, JVs and Strategic Alliances, Internal Venturing, and IPOs, which have ranged in size from seed money financing to a multi-billion dollar acquisition. He also works with clients on strategic growth initiatives such as new Distribution Channels, Key Account Acquisition, Technology Partnerships, and Co-Marketing agreements.
Geoffrey Hall, MSW, LCSW
Geoffrey is an accomplished operational strategist and executive leader with 15+ years of experience cultivating, improving, and directing operations for various facilities throughout the healthcare industry. He is currently the Administrator for the top 10 nationally ranked Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine at the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. Geoffrey completed his undergraduate in Social Work from Auburn University. He has a Masters in Social Work (MSW) from East Carolina University and obtained his Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Walden University. He is licensed as a Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in New York.
Mr. Blumenfeld has over fifty years of management experience working for and with entrepreneurial businesses of all sizes; from small, family owned businesses to large, publicly held corporations. In 1981, Mr. Blumenfeld formed Myron I. Blumenfeld & Associates and consulted with entrepreneurial companies in the U.S., Mexico, Canada and Indonesia. Mr. Blumenfeld has a B.S. degree in Economics from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A. from the Graduate School of Business Administration, New York University, where he has also served on the faculty as an adjunct professor and currently serves as an Entrepreneur in Residence at the NYU Stern Berkley Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. He has a passion for entrepreneurial endeavors and loves helping people to develop and implement a plan to make their entrepreneurial dreams a reality. He has served on the Board of Directors of AWED, (American Women’s Economic Development Corp.), and at WIBO (Workshop in Business Opportunities), both of which are respected not-for-profit organizations dedicated to training and supporting entrepreneurs in the underserved communities of the country.
Rahmat Shoureshi, PhD
VP OF ENGINEERING
Dr. Shoureshi is Provost and VP of Academic Affairs for NYIT (New York Institute of Technology). Over 30 years of academic experience as a faculty member, university administrator and research scholar in technology. For eight years, Shoureshi served as dean of the School of Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Denver. Shoureshi has authored over 250 technical publications, is the holder of several patents, and supervised and graduated 80 Ph.D. and M.S. student theses. He has collaborated with various government agencies and the private sector, and serves on the board of many professional organizations. He is an expert in automation, artificial intelligence, robotics, bioengineering, energy/power engineering, structural engineering, and automotive NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness). He is a partner in ITF, a rapid prototyping and engineering design firm based in Colorado.
Renat Sukhov, MD
PEDIATRIC REHABILITATION ADVISER
Dr. Sukhov is a renowned Pediatric Medical Specialist and Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at New York University. He is also the Associate Medical Director of Pediatric Rehabilitation Service. He has an AB PM&R in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation as well as an MD from St. Petersburg Medical University.
Neera Kapoor, OD
VISION REHABILITATION ADVISER
Dr. Neera Kapoor is an Associate Clinical Professor of Optometry at SUNY-College of Optometry and Chief of Vision Rehabilitation Services at SUNY-College of Optometry’s University Eye Center (UEC) in New York City. After graduating from the University of Toronto with a Bachelors of Science degree in Biochemistry (1989), Dr. Kapoor moved to New York City where she completed a Masters of Science in Vision Science (1993), Doctorate of Optometry (1994), and a residency in Vision Therapy and Rehabilitation (1995), all from SUNY-Optometry. From September 1996 through June 6, 2010, she was the Director of the UEC’s Head Trauma Vision Rehabilitation Unit, recently renamed after a grateful donor as the Raymond J. Greenwald Rehabilitation Center. Since June 7, 2010, Dr. Kapoor has been serving as the Chief of Vision Rehabilitation Services at SUNY-College of Optometry’s UEC. As of 2013, she has co-authored 28 peer-reviewed articles, 9 textbook chapters, and 25 poster presentations, as well as having lectured locally and regionally, regarding vision and ABI.