Technology to assist people with disabilities has advanced rapidly in recent years, with tons of innovative products entering the market each year. One particularly ambitious endeavor is that of designing technology that'll allow the blind to see again. What once sounded like pure science fiction is now becoming a reality.
Take a look below, where we've listed 5 of the most exciting devices.
1. Brainport V100
This unorthodox device record's its user's surroundings with a video camera attached to a pair of sunglasses. It then converts these images into electric symbols, which get transmitted onto a flat, electrode-studded mouthpiece. This allows the wearer to perceive the images in the form of a tingling sensation on their tongue. While this might sound extremely strange, after receiving the necessary training, users should be able to identify where objects are located, as well as their shape, size, and movement speed.
2. EyeCane & EyeMusic
These sensory substitution devices (SSDs) provide visual information from touch and sound to allow people with vision impairment to 'see' their surroundings. EyeCane is a flashlight-like device which transmits infrared rays to translate distance into tactile and auditory cues, allowing wearers to sense anything within a 5-meter range. The other device, EyeMusic, is a mini-camera connected to an app which translates the locations, colors, and shapes of objects into soundscapes which the brain can interpret visually. With enough training, blind people can identify pictures of people, and recognize the letters of the alphabet - all with the power of sound!
3. Assisted Vision Smart Glasses
These smart glasses are designed to enhance the vision of people with very limited eyesight. They are made up of two small cameras, transparent OLED displays, a GPS unit, a compass, a gyroscope, and a headphone. The data it receives can be used in many ways, and after it's processed by the system, important information is relayed to the user through the headphone. The best part is that these glasses come with an astonishingly low price tag!
Nicknamed 'the iPad for the blind,' this device resembles an ebook, but uses little physical bubbles to display letters, opening up the possibility of viewing entire pages of braille text at once. This amazing device is able to convert a text file into braille, and can also read text aloud for you. What's more, the Blitab is even able to display tactile images, making it accessible for blind users who can't read braille.
This brilliant device sits on the side of a pair of glasses, and uses optical character reading (OCR) technology to help users read printed materials, such as magazines, newspapers, products in shops, and road signs. It can also allow wearers to easily recognize the faces of friends and family. The device contains a miniature camera and computer, which automatically zooms in to locate the text on a page. If a user wants something read aloud to them, all they need to do is to point their finger at it, and OrCam will do the rest! To learn more about this incredible piece of technology, check out the video below!