"Hilight" is a concept application that helps blind and visually impaired individuals independently navigate a route by highlighting important objects along their path.

This is a unique project that has taught me to think beyond the interface alone, and it has also allowed me to collaborate with a wide range of professionals. As a result of the quality collaborative work done by everyone involved, the concept won the 2019 Red Dor Award.


"Hilight" is also a diploma project in the Digital Product Design course at the British School of Design. When my classmate Artem and I started working on our joint diploma project, we wanted to create something truly useful and socially significant.
After conducting research in the social sphere, we settled on the idea of a navigator for blind and visually impaired people.

For this project, we decided to study the issues in the social sphere, specifically among blind and visually impaired people.


As students, we developed the product from scratch, conducted research, and collaborated with 3D designers, producers, cinematographers, and musicians.


We were faced with the question: how and with what digital product can we help blind and visually impaired people? We conducted in-depth interviews with an expert in inclusive design to immerse ourselves in the subject, context, and specifics.

We wanted to understand how people with visual impairments currently solve their daily tasks, how they navigate the city, and purchase goods. We reached out to the All-Russian Society of the Blind, as many people who have recently lost their sight discuss such everyday issues there.

Over a hundred people participated in the survey, providing detailed descriptions of their unresolved issues they face every day. Judging by the responses, one of the most pressing and unresolved problems was independent mobility in the city.

Key issues included:


Almost everyone now owns a smartphone, and for blind and visually impaired individuals, it plays an indispensable role: it already includes screen reader systems like VoiceOver for iOS or TalkBack for Android, a camera, and a powerful enough processor to process video streams using neural networks.

It was precisely this object recognition technology that inspired the solution that formed the basis of Hilight — as in "Hi, light".

Hypothesis and MVP

We determined that for initial hypothesis testing, the application should recognize navigation elements (traffic lights, pedestrian crossings, and moving vehicles) and vocalize them.

To test the mechanics, we met with blind accessibility specialist Pavel Popko and walked around the city with him, "trying on" the role of the neural network in the future application. We connected with Pavel via video call, during which he held the phone in front of himself and showed us what was happening in front of him, while we guided him vocally along the route, assisting him in crossing the road.

During the test, it became apparent that blind individuals find it easier to orient themselves using the "clock face" method. Instead of "to the right" and "further right," expressions like "three o'clock" and "one o'clock" were clearer to them.

Additionally, it was discovered that curbs and sidewalks significantly facilitate the movement of blind individuals, allowing them to lean on something solid. However, during movement across pedestrian crossings, there are no such reference points, which poses certain difficulties.

Low-fidelity iteration

Here are our first versions of the mobile application interface. After the initial tests, it immediately became clear that we needed to focus heavily on accessibility and make the interface more contrasting and larger.

We had several ideas regarding the device. Initially, we considered a mini-camera that could be attached to clothing, but after testing, we realized that it wasn't very suitable. The camera on clothing had a narrow field of view and was less effective in many aspects compared to a head-mounted camera.

Therefore, collaborating with Ulyana Kovalenko and Ekaterina Kudryavina (students of Product & Industrial Design at BSHD), we developed the concept of glasses with a built-in camera that transmits the video signal to a smartphone via Bluetooth. This allows users to use the application without holding the phone in their hands.

High-fidelity iteration

Testing helped us define the main screens and usage scenarios. Visually impaired individuals often use smartphones by holding them very close to their eyes, so in the interface, we emphasized large typography and contrasting colors. Yellow is the most readable color for people with varying degrees of color blindness, while black and white create maximum contrast for comfortable reading.

The glasses needed to be lightweight while integrating a camera, batteries for wireless operation, and electronics into the frame. Therefore, Ulyana and Katya suggested making the glasses from plant-based plastic (acetate), which is durable, lightweight, flexible, and can be dyed in various colors and shades. Two batteries measuring 0.5x15x35 mm and a 5-megapixel camera sized 15x25 mm were placed within the temples of the glasses.

In one temple, a flexible Bluetooth module and a mini-speaker are integrated, while in the other, a touch sensor is embedded, allowing users to turn the glasses on and off with a long press. The batteries are positioned closer to the ears to reduce pressure on the nose bridge.

Additionally, we needed to address the charging issue to ensure the device is always ready for use. Hence, the glasses come with a power bank case, allowing them to charge wirelessly. The glasses enter sleep mode when removed from the face and can indicate the battery status upon activation.

Video will best illustrate how the Hilight app could make commuting to and from work more convenient every day. Thanks for it to the students of the Moscow Film School — Olga Moiseeva, Yuliya Kritskaya, Mikhail Dubovik.


After a successful project presentation at the diploma defense in BSHD, we decided to submit the project for participation in the Red Dot Award competition.

As a result, Hilight received a well-deserved award in the category of Best of the Best in the Red Dot Award: Brands & Communication Design 2019!


The Hilight project emerged through a flourishing collaboration of many individuals, and I was fortunate to have been part of this experience, which I proudly cherish to this day.

A huge thank you to everyone who assisted us throughout this process, thanks to Sergey Galtshev and Anton Vdovichenko, our supervisors at the British School of Design. And special thanks to Pavel Popko, who helped us with all the insights and product testing.