NEC X invests in technology startup, WeWALK

NEC X, Inc. disclosed its financial backing of WeWALK, a British startup crafting mobility aids for the blind and visually impaired.

Following an initial Seed funding round spearheaded by Nesta Impact Investments, WeWALK is set to enrich its forthcoming smart mobility aids with NEC's advanced computer-vision technology through this strategic infusion of funds.

WeWALK is dedicated to addressing the significant obstacles faced by blind and visually impaired individuals. Its smart cane technology, coupled with a smartphone application, utilises state-of-the-art technology and artificial intelligence (AI) to identify overhead hazards via ultrasound, while preserving the essential ground feedback feature of the traditional white cane. Vibratory alerts and verbal notifications assist users in understanding their immediate surroundings, offering information on proximate amenities such as shops, eateries, and public transport.

Honoured with the NEC X Prize at the NEC Innovation Challenge 2022, WeWALK was subsequently invited to participate in the Elev X! Venture Studio Program. This partnership has fostered mentorship, detailed discussions on technical implementation, and validations with NEC researchers, culminating in this investment to bolster comprehensive support. The collaboration is currently focused on a project to incorporate spatial recognition capabilities, derived from NEC Laboratories America's computer vision technology, into WeWALK's next-gen mobility solutions.

"We're incredibly excited by NEC X's investment in advancing our smart cane technology with their cutting-edge computer vision. This collaboration strengthens our mission to empower visually impaired people with greater mobility and independence. We look forward to making a significant positive impact together," said Gokhan Mericliler, CEO & Co-founder of WeWALK.

"We are honoured to have the opportunity for NEC's technology to contribute to realizing WeWALK's vision of ensuring that every visually impaired person has the freedom to go wherever they want to go," said Shintaro Matsumoto, President and CEO of NEC X. "NEC X will continue its activities aimed at providing comprehensive support, including funding and technology, to globally active startups like WeWALK, and together, we will work to expand our businesses."