White cane with space-proven sensor helps the visually impaired

At the end of October, the Brno-based company Svarovsky, s.r.o. completed a project of a white cane upgraded with an electronic sensor enabling monitoring of the nearby surroundings. The innovation is also the first project supported by the ESA Spark Funding CZ programme for the use of space technologies in Earth-based applications.

Svarovsky, s.r.o. has successfully integrated the Single Photon Avalenche Diodes (SPAD) technology into the handle of the white cane, which allows to emit a photon and measure the time of its reflection from an obstacle. The signal is converted into a vibration of the cane handle and the user receives information about obstacles even outside the physical range of the cane. The technology was originally used in the Czech ELT (European Laser Timing) project, which was part of the international ACES (Atomic Clock Ensemble in Space) experiment. This experiment, dealing with time synchronisation on board the International Space Station (ISS), used a SPAD sensor to capture a laser signal sent from the ground station. With the ability to very accurately record the time of photon impact, the technology allowed for very precise control of the on-board clock and coordination with the ground center.

The new use of SPAD technology in the white cane improves the orientation capabilities of the visually impaired and is a good example of the socio-economic potential of transferring space research results to technological applications on Earth.


Get Space Inspired 2023 Information meetings

ESA Technology Broker invites those interested in participating in the Get Space Inspired 2023 competition to an information sessions, which will take place online

27.9.2023 15:00 – 16:00

2.10.2023 15:00 – 16:00

9.10.2023 15:00 – 16:00

16.10.2023 15:00 – 16:00

Use the link here to choose the date and register to the meeting.

The competition is open to any entities (companies, universities, research centres, individuals) based in the Czech Republic.


We look forward to meeting you! 


Get Space Inspired in 2023!

This year again, Czech innovation companies, entrepreneurs, research institutes and individual innovators can compete for the best idea for a terrestrial application of space technology.

Get Space Inspired contest aims to support the use of space technologies in non-space industries and to motivate companies to address their technological needs by applying know-how developed primarily for the space sector.



The competition will select and award 3 the best proposals for the adaptation (technology transfer) of space technology in terrestrial applications:

1st place – 20 000 EUR

2nd place – 10 000 EUR

3rd place – 5 000 EUR


Who can participate?

Any company, entrepreneur, innovator, university or research institute based in the Czech Republic.

Application deadline: October 31, 2023.


How to participate

Get inspired by the know-how used in space applications and submit a project presenting its application in a non-space sector.

Use the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Space Patents Database or The European Space Software Repository (ESSR) as a source of technological innovations in space.

The space innovation used in the project proposal does not have to come from the ESA database, any know-how that has been used in space or has been developed primarily for space applications can be used. The requirement is the novelty of the terrestrial use of space technology.

Use the Get Space Inspired application form below to describe your idea for applying the space technology and submit it to no later than October  31, 2023. There is no required scope of information submitted, the competitor shall submit relevant information to best meet the evaluation criteria.

The application form will be a single document consisting of the cover letter, application form and any attachments. Please apply in English.

Received applications will be evaluated by an expert jury and the results will be announced during the Czech Space Week in November 2023, date to be announced.


Terms and conditions

Evaluation criteria for technology transfer projects

The criteria for evaluating technology transfer proposals are following:

  • novelty and innovation of the application
  • technological feasibility
  • economic sustainability
  • socio-economic impact
  • implementation and business plan of the proposer

The organizer of the competition will propose the nominations of the expert jury and announce these nominations at the time of the closing date for competition proposals.

The jury only announces winners of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes and does not announce other rankings or evaluation of individual participants.

Competition rules

Technology transfer projects must be technologically and economically feasible applications of Space technology. The competitor shall describe the terrestrial technological problem and its solution by space technologies application. Provider of the space solution is ESA or any company providing its technology solution in space technology sector. Participation in the competition does not establish any contractual relationship between the competitor and the owner of the space know-how and between competitor and competition organizer either. The competitor is obliged to use only information available in public sources and databases.

Transfer of the prize money will take place within 60 calendar days of the announcement of the competition results.