Life for the visually impaired is quite challenging and there is no doubt about it. There have been many inventions from the advent of technology, which help the unfortunate vision impaired in having a better life. But, it’s only recently that there have been some inventions that assist the visually impaired in leading a normal life that normal people are used to. Wearable technology has come as a god sent blessing for blind people who have been assisted ably by the proactive technology.
Big news for sight impaired
Image Source : TheHindu
Many big Universities and electronics giants are developing gadgets and machines for the blind. For example, MIT’s Media Labs has come up with FingerReader, which is a ring-like device for reading printed material via a synthesized voice. Another popular example is the use of Intel’s assistive technology by Stephen Hawking. This helps the smartest human being alive to write emails twice as fast and browsing the internet with ease.
Top devices to help visually impaired people
An Israeli start-up has developed a device called OrCam for visually-impaired that helps them navigate in their surroundings. This medical device in the form of wearable glasses makes use of advanced cameras, audio and algorithms for navigation.
MIT has developed the FingerReader wearable gadget which helps the visually impaired to read written text in front of it. The built-in camera of the device can detect 12-point text and then read it out loud. The wearable device is currently in prototype stage and undergoing testing with blind people for improvements.
- Microsoft headset
Microsoft, in collaboration with UK government’s Future Cities catapult, is developing a smart wearable headset that can be paired with your Windows Phone via a compatible app. The headset is based on AfterShokz headphones, which come with bone conductive technology to transmit sound. Using Microsoft Bing Maps and location data from GPS, this headset guides the blind in crowded places.
The real scoop
Wearable technology is emerging as a good tool for visually impaired, but only if is used in the right way. Let us see how wearable technology has to be approached in order to develop gadgets that provide maximum assistance in the easiest way possible.
- Choosing the right device and software
It is a combination of software and hardware that does the magic for a gadget. The wearable device has to be well abetted by the software that does all the analysis of the surrounding environment and then gives information that the visually impaired can utilize. Any glitch in this will result in confusion and non-acceptance by the user.
- Speech is the key
Speech is an integral part of any wearable gadget that is aimed at the blind and it has to be very proactive. In conjunction with a computer that can interpret and convert visual data into sound, it becomes easy for the impaired to have technology aided sight of sorts.
Safety concerns revealed
Using wearable technology can be double edged sword too for the visually impaired as it can lead to accidents in crowded streets. The technology that is being currently in development has to take every aspect into account, which includes traffic safety, unprecedented occurrences like natural disasters etc. Major concern for such devices comes in outdoor environment that can be unpredictable and full of surprises. So it is a long way when we think of a full-proof wearable gadget that can help visually impaired.
In the end, it is all about using technology to its maximum advantage and currently wearable technology is being put to good use by startups and established players to make life rosy for the unfortunate blind people.