Press Kit

Thanks for your interest in biped! This page summarizes everything that you might need in order to create written, audio or video content on biped, including logos, illustrations, photos, videos of the product, of end-users testing the device, as well as short interviews, in French, English and German, presenting the story and the team behind biped. For the reference, we are also adding written content below the downloadable links. We're also happy to help with any questions you have. Just email hello@biped.ai. You'll reach a real human who can arrange interviews and provide original materials 🙌

Note: We don't publish press releases but we share some of the exciting news on our blog.


Who are we?
biped SA is a Swiss company, based in Lausanne, Vaud. The company was created in January 2021, and currently has 5 employees. The company develops a smart navigation harness for blind and visually impaired people. biped was co-founded by 2 people: Mael FABIEN, CEO, and Bruno VOLLMER, CTO.

Mael, 25 years old, graduated with a Masters in Actuarial Science from HEC Lausanne. During his studies, he won entrepreneurial contests and founded his first startup at the age of 18. He then specialized in AI, and started a PhD at EPFL’s Idiap lab. After 2 years of PhD, Maël dropped out to focus on the development of what became biped. He now is the CEO of biped. Mael has always been interested in impactful and inclusive technology. He has also worked in various startups as a data scientist and worked as a free-lance data scientist and technical writer.

Bruno, 27 years old, completed a Masters in Computer Science at RWTH Aachen in Germany with a strong focus on Computer Vision and Machine Learning. Bruno gained professional experience by working for two high impact start-ups as a software engineer. Since November 2020, he’s been hosting a tech podcast named EinfachTech. As a CTO, Bruno leads the technical development of biped, and creates state-of-the-art algorithms for environment understanding around the user, in real-time.

How it started
This whole adventure started back in summer 2020. Mael lived close by the ophthalmic hospital in Lausanne, and was doing a PhD in AI at this time. On one side, Mael saw the rapid development of autonomous driving capabilities. On the other, he still helped some blind users cross the street near his apartment. The link between these two fields became obvious.“Autonomous driving technology car control cars on the highway at a very high speed. We should be able to guide blind users using this same technology, but at the pedestrian level.”.

Mael met Bruno, his co-founder, at a Hackathon, the International Create Challenge, in Switzerland. Bruno was an expert in computer vision. They were both driven by the will to have an impact on people's lives. In less than a year, the idea became of growing startup, with 5 collaborators, hundreds of testers for the 5 prototype versions, key partners and over 1 million CHF of investments perceived.

How does it work?
The device works like an autonomous driving car, but at the pedestrian level. The cameras on the harness can detect risky obstacles, predict the risks of collisions, and warn the user, a couple of seconds ahead, with short sounds played in bone-conduction headphones. If there is an obstacle on the left detected by biped, the person will hear a sound coming from the left in the headphones. The device generates different sounds for different types of obstacles. An electric scooter would then generate a different sound than a pedestrian or a motorcycle.

At the core of our software, Artificial intelligence algorithms have been developed to analyze the surroundings of the user every 150 ms. Our patent-pending solution is now a lot faster than the first iterations, and will benefit from a crowd effect, to allow the AI to understand a bigger diversity of scenes in the future.

The feedback
With over 200 beta-testers involved in the process, we realized that the biggest benefit that biped could bring was the peace of mind.

"When it doesn't generate any sound, I feel like I can walk faster and not have to worry about a potential obstacle", Ali, beta-tester in Lausanne

It is on top, a device that has the ability to become all-in-one, and replace several assistive technologies currently being used:

"biped could replace electronic white canes, smart glasses, smart belt, and many of the devices we've tested recently. It's really exiciting", Fatima, Occupational Therapist


The journey
biped was made possible by some of our collaborations and early supports. The Jules Gonin Hospital, the Swiss Federation for the Blind, the FIT (VD), the SPEI (VD), Microsoft Startup Program, Venture Kick, Innosuisse, S-GE, Biopole Startup Fund, Innovaud, Serpentine Ventures, as well as all of our beta-testers, early adopters, investors, and more.