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Seattle startup aims to enhance the sports experience for vision-impaired fans with innovative tactile device



OneCourt, a Seattle startup, is revolutionizing the way blind or low-vision sports fans experience games by providing them with a device that allows them to “feel” what is happening on the field or court through touch. The company’s technology translates gameplay data into spatial haptics, syncing to television or radio broadcasts of sports games and providing tactile playing-field outlines and vibrations under the user’s fingers. This device enhances the audio experience that blind or vision-impaired fans rely on, filling in spatial details and bringing them closer to the action.

Jerred Mace, the CEO of OneCourt, started the company more than two years ago at the University of Washington, where he studied industrial and product design. He believes in the power of touch to enhance the experience for everyone and is passionate about making sports accessible to all fans, regardless of their visual abilities. OneCourt partners with professional sports teams and leagues to utilize data already being collected for various purposes, such as the NFL’s Next Gen Stats powered by Amazon. By focusing on improving the foundational experience of the game, OneCourt aims to enhance the overall enjoyment of sports for everyone.

OneCourt’s efforts have been supported by Microsoft’s AI for Accessibility program, providing them with a 12-month grant to further their research and development. The startup has also partnered with T-Mobile for technical support, 5G integration, and workspace access. They recently won a $50,000 investment prize at the Flywheel Investment Conference in Wenatchee, as well as a $5,000 fan favorite prize. Additionally, OneCourt has participated in various competitions at the University of Washington and gone through accelerator programs to refine their technology and business model.

One of the highlights for OneCourt was their first in-venue pilot with the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers, where Mace and his team got to watch games with students from the Washington State School for the Blind and the Northwest Association for Blind Athletes who were using the device. This experience was particularly impactful, as it allowed these fans to feel like they were truly part of the action during the game. By providing this innovative technology, OneCourt is opening up new opportunities for blind or low-vision individuals to enjoy sports in a way that was previously inaccessible to them.

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