This device provides information about surroundings to help people navigate everyday obstacles.
According to the American Foundation for the Blind, nearly 10% of all Americans report that they are blind or are having significant trouble seeing, even with wearing glasses or contact lenses. While there are a number of tools and techniques that help people with vision loss, there are far fewer options for those who are legally blind. But a new prototype device out of Oxford seems that it could be of considerable assistance to these people.
‘Smart Glasses’ are a piece of wearable tech that feature a video camera fastened to a pair of glasses that transfers images to a small CPU. A specially designed computer program translates these images into a series of visually enhanced outlines that are more easily detected by legally blind people, and then displays the heightened images onto the glasses’ lenses. The closer an object is, the brighter the outline, and when looking directly at people the glasses made facial features distinguishable.
Currently, Smart Glasses are pretty bulky, but after receiving additional funding from The Royal Society fellowship, the creators are sure they will be able to scale them down to the size of a typical pair of glasses. The scientists involved are also aiming to add more features to the glasses, including earphones that would give audio prompts, as well as face, object, and text recognition capabilities. Ideally, they hope to sell Smart Glasses for about the same cost as a smartphone. Though the glasses can’t replace a loss of vision, they could be extremely helpful for day-to-day activities of those with limited vision.