User’s Guide


Ara is a smart wearable device for the blind and visually impaired. It is designed with an array of sensors (5 ultrasonic sensors, 3 LiDAR sensors) that detect and alert you, through haptics (10 haptic actuators), on upcoming upper, mid, and lower body obstacles, helping you move safely to your next destination.

Ara can be used as a stand-alone mobility device or together with a white cane.


To open the package:

  1. Put the box on a flat surface like a table in front of you.
  2. Search for the opening tab made from smooth fabric and make sure it is facing you.
  3. Pull up on the tab and ride it all the way to the back until the box is completely opened. If you cannot pull upwards on the tab that may mean the box is upside down. Please turn the box over and make sure the opening tab faces you and try again.
  4. Inside, you will find Ara sitting right in the middle of the box. Using one hand, hold the box down. Now take Ara with your free hand and pull up to detach it from the box. You may need to wiggle it a bit. Once you remove Ara and the straps that come attached to it, place it next to you on the table.
  5. Inside the box and in front of Ara you will find an identification armband, made of fabric and velcro. You will find a slot behind Ara with paperwork and finally, you will find a collapsing flap in front of the box with two separate sleeves to the right and to the left. The left sleeve contains a USB-C charging cable and inside the right sleeve you will find a pair of earbuds.

General Specifications


3.5 inches tall, 4.3 inches wide and 2.7 inches deep


354 grams, 0.8 pounds

Battery and Power

Battery: Yes/Internal
Charging Time: 4 hours
Battery Duration: Up to one day of walking time (up to 2 hrs)
Battery Type: Lithium Based


Wi-fi Connection: Yes


Charging Port: USB Type-C
Audio: 3.5mm Headphone jack


Light Time of Flight sensor (3)
Ultrasonic sensor(5)
Accelerometer (1)
Gyroscope (1)

Haptic Actuators

Main Device: 6 Actuators
Straps: 4 Actuators


Device  Case Materials: ABS plastic
Strap Materials: Polyester

Ara´s Anatomy

Shape and Texture: The device boasts an oval shape with a dual-texture design. The front side is composed of hard, rough-textured plastic, which houses essential components such as sensors, ports, and buttons. The back side features a soft, haptic foam that gently rests against your chest, providing comfort during use.

User Interface: To identify the top of Ara, hold the device with the haptic foam facing towards you. You will find a single button with a distinctive groove running along its length – this is the top. At the bottom, there is a USB-C charging port. To the right, you will discover the headphone jack and a volume rocker. The menu button is located on the left side.

Sensors: On the front, Ara is equipped with two types of sensors, distinguishable by their unique indentations. The circular indentations are ultrasonic sensors, strategically positioned in four directions: upwards, forwards, downwards, and sideways. The pill-shaped indentations are LiDAR sensors, with one pointing forward and two pointing downward.

Straps and Haptic Feedback: Extending from the haptic foam are adjustable, textile stretchable straps, designed to fit comfortably to your body. Each strap contains a haptic module (vibration motor), totaling four in the straps. Additionally, the haptic foam itself houses six internal haptic modules. These modules provide tactile feedback, enhancing your spatial awareness.

Hands-on Ara

We encourage you to get to know the device in as much detail as possible. Before you manipulate Ara, please make sure to clean your hands thoroughly because dirty fingers may hinder the performance of some of the sensors. Also, please remember to be gentle when touching the sensors and when pressing the buttons.

Take the device with both hands and feel its weight, dimensions, materials and look for the buttons. Once all that is done, we would love for you to truly understand Ara's anatomy. Please be so kind so as to follow these descriptive steps:

  1. Using a table, please put down Ara facing you. You will know the device is facing you by feeling the hard plastic side towards you and the soft haptic foam behind the device. The second condition to make sure Ara is facing you is that you must feel the large power button with a groove in the middle, right on top of the device at the 12 o'clock position.
  2. Once you have made sure Ara is facing you please place your index finger gently on the large button with a groove in the middle which sits on top of the device at the 12 o'clock position. That is the power button.
  3. From the power button slide your finger downwards about an inch to a round indentation. You are now touching the first ultrasonic sensor.
  4. Now move downwards another inch and you will feel the second ultrasonic sensor.
  5. Move your finger downwards about half an inch and right in the middle of the device you will find a larger oval indentation These are the central lidar sensors.
  6. From the oval indentation in the middle please slide your finger one and a half inches to the left until you feel a round indentation. That is the third ultrasonic sensor.
  7. Please slide your finger back to the middle oval indentation and now move it another inch and a half to the right. You should now be feeling the fourth ultrasonic sensor.
  8. Please slide your finger back to the middle oval indentation and slide it downwards about two inches to the bottom part of the device. You will feel another round indentation which is the fifth and last ultrasonic sensor.
  9. From this position move your finger towards the left, roughly half an inch, and you will feel another oval indentation with two bottom LIDAR sensors.
  10. Take your finger back to the bottom round indentation and now slide it towards the right to find the last oval indentation with the last couple of LIDAR sensors. Those are the ultrasonic and LIDAR sensor arrays you will find in your Ara device.
  11. Now please place your index finger back on the top power button. From there let's move down three places until you can feel the large oval indentation. Once there move your finger to the right towards the round indentation and then keep going right until you find a plastic button. That is the Menu button.
  12. Let's place your index finger back on the top power button. From there move down three places until you can feel the large oval indentation again. Once there move your finger to the left towards the round indentation and then keep going left until you find a plastic button. That is the Volume Rocker button. You will notice you can press up and down on this button.
  13. Located half an inch above the Volume Rocker button you will find a small round indentation. This is the 3.5 mm headphone jack.
  14. Now please place your index finger back on the top power button. From there go downwards 4 indentations. Below the fourth indentation approximately half an inch, located almost at the bottom of the device you will find the USB-C charging port.

Ara's Anatomy in a nutshell

Once we have pinpointed the exact location of all sensors and buttons, let us do a quick recap. Ara's main core is made up of 5 ultrasonic sensors and 3 LIDAR sensors. From the Power Button located at the 12 o'clock position, you will find the Menu button at the 3 o'clock position, the USBC charging port at the 6 o'clock position, the volume rocker at the 9 o'clock position, and the 3.5mm headphone jack just above the volume rocker.

Ara's buttons and ports at a glance

Power Button

The Power Button can be found at the 12 o'clock position at the very top of the device. This button is large and easily identifiable. It is made with texturized plastic with a distinct groove running through the middle.

Menu Button

The Menu Button is located at the 3 o'clock position or to the right of the device (assuming Ara's sensors are facing the user). The menu button is one solid piece made out of smooth plastic without any grooves or indentations.

USB-C Charging Port

You will find a small USB-C Charging port at the 6 o'clock position at the bottom of the device. This connexion port is meant for a USB-C cable. The user will plug USB-C cable into this port to charge Ara's battery.

Volume Rocker Button

The Volume Rocker Button is located at the 9 o'clock position to the left of the device (assuming Ara's sensors are facing the user). The rocker button is made out of smooth plastic. The button can be pressed up or down.

Headphone Jack

The headphone jack is a small and round indentation designed to plug headphones in. This port is located right above the volume rocker to the left of the device (assuming Ara's sensors are facing the user).


The armband is the way to identify yourself as visually impaired or blind, this will allow people to find you and in case of an accident or need for help, act accordingly. This band needs to be worn in the mid-portion of your biceps with the eye icon on the band looking outwards (the eye icon is embossed on the armband). For your own safety, the armband needs to be visible at all times when using Ara.

How to Wear Ara

To wear Ara please follow these steps closely:

  1. Place Ara on a table in front of you. Make sure the power button is at the 12 o’clock position. If done correctly Ara’s sensors will be pointing at you and the haptic foam will be at the back of the device.
  2. Take Ara with both hands and start rotating it to the left until you feel the haptic foam is facing you. If done correctly you should feel the haptic foam with both your thumbs and the power button should still be at the 12 o’clock position.
  3. For Ara to work as intended, the straps need to be placed straight. Hold Ara with your left hand and look for the top right strap. Using your thumb and index fingers start going up the strap making sure it is straight. As you go up you will feel a haptic actuator embedded into the fabric, then you will find a plastic hoop and a second plastic hoop at the top of that strap section.
  4. Now look for the left top strap and repeat the process to make sure it is set straight.
  5. Hold Ara with your left hand and make sure the haptic foam is facing you. Place your right hand under the right and left top straps and hold them while keeping your thumb on top. The straps should be resting on the palm of your hand and you should be able to feel the haptic actuators with your thumb.
  6. From this position raise both hands to your eyes level. Use your right hand to move both top straps to the right to get them out of the way and gently let the haptic foam rest against your forehead. Take the left top strap and pass it to the left side of your head. As you do this your head will end between the top left and right straps. Slowly set your hands down and Ara should remain hanging freely from your neck.
  7. Once Ara is hanging freely from your neck, the top and mid-right straps will form a loop on the right side. To put your arm through that loop, imagine you are putting on a T-shirt and just drive your arm through the loop as if it were a T-shirt sleeve. Once your arm has gone through the loop, adjust the mid-right strap so that it feels comfortable, and while doing that please check that the strap is straight and not twisted.
  8. From this position search for the female plastic buckle which will be hanging from your back. Just use your right hand and reach around until you are able to hold it. Now joint both sides of the buckle to securely fasten your Ara system.

Before pressing the power button please double-check the following:

  1. The straps are not twisted, otherwise please set them straight.
  2. The device is resting snugly on the middle section of your torso. For people with ample breasts, please make sure the device sits below your breasts and not on top otherwise the sensors might not be aligned correctly.

Now you are ready to hit that power button.


The first time you get Ara, you will have to calibrate your device for a tailor made experience. Before turning Ara on for the first time, go to an open space, objects need to be at least 2.5 meters away from you. Let’s begin with the autocalibration:

  1. Wear Ara as mentioned in the previous section. Make sure the strap system isn’t tangled and that Ara’s sensors are pointing forward as perpendicular to the floor as possible.
  2. Stand still in the open space, as mentioned before, with no objects in front of you, otherwise Ara’s Auto-calibration will fail.
  3. Turn Ara on by holding and pressing the power button for 3 seconds.
  4. When you turn Ara On, press both of the volume buttons (up and down) and the menu button at the same time for 3 seconds, and you will hear the auto-calibration sound which means Ara is ready to begin this process, don’t move or put anything in front of the device (including your hands) for at least 10 seconds.
  5. When the Auto-calibration is done, Ara will turn off immediately, and log all the calibration data to your device, this may take up to 6 seconds and turn On back immediately.
  6. If the calibration is successful you shouldn’t feel any vibrations when Ara turns back on.

Note: if you feel vibrations, please try again the auto-calibration process by pressing both of the volume buttons and the menu button at the same time for three seconds and you should hear the auto-calibration sound. Repeat steps 4 through 6.

User Interface


The power button is located on the top part of the device easily identifiable by a small grove in the middle. Press and hold on it for x seconds to turn it ON.  You will hear an increasing beeping sound. That means Ara is ON. To turn Ara off, press and hold it for 3 seconds and you will hear a decreasing beep. That’s the Power Off confirmation.

Learning mode

To access learning mode press and hold the menu button (left button) for 3 seconds.  To exit the learning mode press and hold the same button for x seconds, your earbuds need to be plugged in for learning the mode to start.

Wifi setup

To access the WiFi Protected Setup or WPS mode, your device needs to be turned on and charging. On your device press and hold for 3 seconds the volume up button and the menu button (left button) together. To exit the WPS mode, press and hold the power button for 3 seconds, or press and hold for 3 seconds the volume up button and the menu button together (left button).

Hard Reset

Press and hold both the menu button (left button) and the power button for 7 seconds. You will hear a beep and a haptic effect looping around your device. Remember to use the Hard Reset option only when your device becomes completely unresponsive.

White Cane Mode

If you want to use your white cane, press and hold the volume down button for 5 seconds, the bottom sensors will shut down and you will feel a haptic effect on the bottom actuators of the main core. To exit the white cane mode, press and hold the volume down button for 5 seconds. Please remember that currently, the Low Obstacle detection option is in Beta version. This means the White Cane Mode comes activated by default and the downward-looking sensors are turned off.

Smart ON/OFF toggle

To deactivate the Smart ON/OFF feature, press and hold the power button and the volume up button for 5 seconds. You will hear a confirmation sound. Should you want to activate this feature again, press and hold the power button and the volume up button for 5 seconds. You will hear a confirmation sound.

Wifi Connectivity

Before accessing the Wifi setup mode make sure you have a router/modem with a physical WPS button (If you don’t have a router with features please access These conditions are mandatory for Ara to access the Wifi setup mode. Once Ara is powered on and charging, please go near your router/modem. You will only have about 60 seconds to pair your device to your wifi network so we suggest you have your Ara device close at hand.

  1. Press the WPS on your router/modem. This is a small button and can be usually found on the back of the modem. Please look into your modem model or contact the manufacturer to get precise information on the location of the WPS button.
  2. On your Ara device, press and hold the volume up button and the menu button (left button) for 3 seconds, you will hear a looping sound notification. This means Ara is pairing correctly. The pairing process may take up to 2 minutes.
  3. If the pairing process was successful you will hear a confirmation sound. If the pairing process stopped without any further feedback, please try again.
  4. Should you want to exit the pairing process, press and hold the power button for 3 seconds, or press and hold for 3 seconds the volume up button and the menu button (left button).

After setting up your internet connection, you will need to access the Wifi setup mode to update your device. Look at the “Update” section for more detailed instructions. Do NOT press your router/modem’s WPS button since it is already set up for your device and that will only make Ara set its internet connection again.


Ara’s flagship feature is to communicate with the user through haptic feedback, a sequence of vibrations specific to each situation. The haptic feedback has two levels:


There are a total of 10 haptic actuators on the device, 2 actuators by your shoulders (1 on each side), 2 of them by your ribs (1 on each side), and 6 at the center of the device.

There are 3 main obstacle-location categories, high, mid, and low. Depending on the location of the obstacle a set of actuators will vibrate accordingly. For high obstacles the top shoulder actuators, for mid obstacles the main core, and for low obstacles the lateral actuators.


Now that we know the different locations of the actuators, the vibration patterns will convey the type of obstacle. The patterns trigger different actuators in sequence at different frequencies to give precise information on your surroundings. For instance, every obstacle rising from the floor triggers 3 short pulses, and obstacles going down such as a flight of stairs will trigger a downward vibratory response.


Learning mode

The learning mode is an interactive tutorial that will teach the basics of the device, its anatomy, navigation, how to access each feature (Obstacle detection, APS, Smart On/Off, etc.), and also how each feature works. To access the learning mode, plug in your headphones and press and hold the menu button (left button) for 3 seconds. To navigate the Learning mode, press the menu button once to play or pause, press the menu button twice to skip ahead, and press the menu button three times to go back on track. When you have completed the learning mode Ara will exit this modality and start the obstacle detection functionality. You can always access the Learning mode by holding the menu button for 3 seconds.

Note: Learning mode is only a quick-start guide, further practice and training with the device are required in order to use it properly. At the moment Learning mode in Ara is only available in English, for other languages click here.

Obstacle Detection

Obstacle detection is Ara’s main feature, using the array of sensors inside the device together with our obstacle detection algorithm, Ara is able to detect obstacles in the low, mid, and top regions of the body, including stairs going up and down and more.

Obstacle detection communicates with you through haptic feedback with a unique set of haptic patterns depending on the position and type of obstacle in front of you. Ara will vibrate whenever there is an obstacle in front of you.

Note: Learning mode explains more in-depth each obstacle-dependent vibration pattern.

Obstacle Categories and Haptic Patterns

Head obstacles

Head obstacles are all obstacles found from the top of the head to your shoulders, such as branches, open windows, street signs, etc.

Head obstacles Haptic pattern: The haptic actuators located in your shoulders will trigger 3 short pulse vibrations and loop back until you pass the obstacle.

Mid obstacles

Mid obstacles are all obstacles that may impact your mid section or your whole body. These obstacles may be difficult to avoid by going over or under them. Here we can find things like walls, poles, railings, people, phone booths, cars, etc.

Mid obstacles Haptic pattern: The haptic actuators located in the center of the haptic foam will trigger 3 short pulse vibrations and loop back until you pass the obstacle.

Low obstacles

Low obstacles are obstacles below your waist, such as benches, chairs, sidewalk curbs, desks, stairs, and holes. The haptic pattern you will feel depends on whether the obstacle is protruding (upstairs, curbs, steps) or recessed (downstairs, holes, or curbs) from the floor level.

Protruding-floor obstacles haptic pattern: Ara will trigger 3 short pulse vibrations on the side-haptic actuators and loop back until you pass the obstacle.

Recessed-floor obstacles haptic patterns: Ara will trigger a ramp-down vibration pattern and loop back until you pass the obstacle.

Note: Obstacles listed herein are only examples. Ara is able to detect many more obstacles than the ones listed in each category.


Ara is equipped with advanced sensors that help you navigate your surroundings by detecting objects at various distances. Here's a breakdown of its detection range:

Maximum Detection Distance
Farthest Reach: Ara can detect objects up to a distance of 1.20 meters, which is approximately 4 feet
Practical Reference: This distance is roughly equivalent to taking 2 steps forward. It allows you ample time to react and adjust your path when approaching obstacles.

Minimum Detection Distance
Closest Range: The device is also capable of sensing objects as close as 25 centimeters, about 10 inches from you.

Note: Steps are not an exact measurement unit, they are only used as a reference.

Getting Acquainted with Obstacle Detection

Congratulations! Now that you have graduated from the learning mode, let us try the following steps together to improve your experience and get the most out of Ara.

Step 1 Selecting a Practice Environment

Choose a familiar and safe place with a variety of obstacles (head, mid, low, protruding, and recessed). Your home is an ideal location.

It's recommended to have someone assist you in simulating additional obstacles that you might not typically encounter at home.

Step 2 Obstacle Recognition Exercise

Position yourself in front of a known obstacle, such as a flight of stairs.

Approach the obstacle slowly until you feel Ara's vibrations, indicating proximity.

Identify the haptic pattern associated with the obstacle, then step back until the vibrations cease.

Repeat this process to become familiar with the haptic feedback for different distances and obstacles.

Step 3 Understanding Distance

Once you've recognized the haptic pattern, approach the obstacle again at a slow pace.

Practice moving towards and away from the obstacle to distinguish when the device starts vibrating and when you meet the obstacle.

Step 4 Repeated Practice

Continue practicing with different obstacles to enhance your proficiency in using Ara.

Tip: the absence of vibration indicates a clear path. To find open spaces, rotate your body until you no longer feel any vibrations.

Note: These are only recommendations to get a better understanding of the product. At the end of the day, you need to find what works best for you.

Smart On/Off

Smart on/off is a feature that saves Ara’s battery by automatically putting the device in standby mode by turning off the sensors and haptic actuators when you stop moving (walking or making strong abrupt movements) for 3.5 seconds approximately, and turning them back on when you start moving again1 (after you take the first step or make a strong/harsh movement (like stomping the ground). This feature will become available 15 seconds after turning on the device with the power button.

Note: We strongly recommend you turn on and off Ara manually to ensure a longer battery life. Smart ON/OFF can be turned off but Ara’s battery life will be impacted drastically.

Please make sure Ara is powered on before walking. You will know the device has been turned on when you hear a beep. If the device doesn’t turn on immediately please take a deliberate step or stomp on the ground.

White Cane Mode

When you access the White Cane Mode, Ara will shut down all its bottom sensors and allow you to walk with your cane or any mobility aid below your waist; like a white cane or a seeing-eye dog. Ara will still work normally in the top, and mid sections. To access this mode, after activating Ara, press and hold the volume-down button for 5 seconds. You will hear a confirmation notification and a haptic effect on the lower part of the device. You can go back to full obstacle detection simply by pressing and holding the volume-down button for 5 seconds again.

By default, the White Cane mode will come activated from the box. You will need to manually activate the downward-looking sensors by pressing and holding the volume-down button for 3 seconds while being out of the learning mode. However please be advised that the downward-looking sensors are still in Beta version.

Ara Care


We highly recommend updating your device (if there are any updates) once you get your device out of the box. In order to update your device, Ara needs to be charging. First you will need to turn on your device and access Wifi Setup mode by pressing and holding for 3 seconds the volume up button and the menu button (left button).Provided Ara has the necessary authorizations, it will start looking for an update.

Initiating the Update Process:

  1. Device requirements

    Make sure Ara is charging or with at least 75% charge.

    Turn on the device.
  2. Enter Wifi Setup Mode

    Enter Wifi Setup mode by pressing and holding the volume up button and the menu button (left button) together for 3 seconds.
  3. Automatic Update Check

    Ara will automatically check for available updates.
  • Available Updates:  If there is an update available you will hear an update notification sound and Ara will begin updating automatically.
  • Successful update: If the device was updated successfully you will hear a successful sound notification and Ara will restart automatically and enter obstacle-detection mode, you can either use your device or turn it off.
  • Unsuccessful update: if the update was unsuccessful you’ll hear an unsuccessful sound notification. Should that be the case please try again.
  • No update available: If there isn’t an update available Ara will turn off automatically.

Note: It is crucial to follow these steps and precautions to ensure a smooth and safe update process for your Ara device.


Battery level

Ara’s battery is designed to last a whole day of normal use. Ara will report on the battery status every time you turn it on.  If you make a fast press on the power button it will beep 4 times, this means your device is fully charged at 100% battery, 3 times when it is at 75%, 2 times when you have 50% left and 1 time when the battery is at 25% or less. If you hear a long 2-second beep, that means the battery is drained and needs to be charged immediately.


Ara’s charging cycle is about 4 hours. To keep the battery healthy and in optimum performance, we suggest using Anker’s PowerPort 2 Elite charger (not included)or another 24W charger (at your own risk). The battery must not be at 0% charge for long. Doing this might negatively impact Ara’s battery and shorten its lifespan.

Note: Do not leave the device plugged in if the battery is fully charged.


Ara’s optimum temperature conditions are between 15 ºC and 38 ºC approximately, and it benefits from dry-weather conditions. Humid weather may shorten the lifespan of the device since it is not waterproof.

Note: Stop using Ara when there is rain to prevent water damage.


Ara works best when you wear thin and light items of clothing, thick and heavy clothes like winter jackets may dampen the vibrations coming from the device, resulting in a poor user experience. Ara can be worn under an open jacket provided the jacket does not block the sensor's field of vision.

By using our device you agree to our terms and conditions.

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OnboardingFirst StepsQuick Access
Learning ModeTroubleshooting Guide

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