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Technology for blinds – wiki

There is a lot of work and research being done to find ways to improve life for partially-sighted and blind people. Reading and recognition devices could make smartphones, tablets, and smart glasses into indispensable aids for the visually impaired.

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The statistics on blindness vary because there is no universal definition. In the United States, it is defined as “central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with the use of a correcting lens.” Solid statistics are hard to come by, but the National Federation of the Blind estimates that there are around 7 million Americans with a visual disability.

According to the World Health Organization, there are 285 million visually impaired people worldwide. That’s a lot of people who could stand to benefit from some clever technology.

Braille ebook reader

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A braille e-book is a refreshable braille display using electroactive polymers or heated wax rather than mechanical pins to raise braille dots on a display. Blind people should also be able to read books and they have designed this blind ebook for them. Provide text for blind users, voice two ways of reading, simultaneously provide text scanning, Bluetooth ebooks transmission, text two kinds of transmission. Lose the way, make the blind better read.

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They cannot read newspapers like ordinary people. However, in real life, more than 99% of textual information is presented in the form of paper materials that cannot be read by visually impaired persons. Therefore, the lack of visual ability makes them unable to obtain information in the most intuitive way.

The blind reader is a device that converts the contents of prints into sound signals for visually impaired people to obtain information so that they can easily obtain paper text information without the help of normal people.

This idea first surfaced a few years back as a concept on Yanko Design. Why not create a tactile digital reader device for Braille readers, like a Kindle for the blind? Braille literacy has been in steady decline since the 1960s for various reasons.

There’s still a debate raging about the importance of Braille and the potential problems with talking computers after research revealed a link between Braille literacy and employment.

The Anagraphs project took up the idea and began to work on plans for a device that would employ thermo-hydraulic micro-actuation to activate Braille dots by infrared laser radiation via a micro-mirror scanning system.

It’s easier to imagine it as a kind of wax material, which can go from solid to liquid with heat and be easily reshaped to create Braille dots. Unfortunately, the EU funding has run out and the project needs more cash to be realized.

Assisted Vision Smart Glass

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The scientist from Oxford university invented it.“What we’re trying to do with the project is produce a pair of glasses that can enable someone who has got very little sight to allow them to walk around unfamiliar places, to recognize obstacles, and to get a greater independence,“ Dr Stephen Hicks from the University of Oxford, recently explained to The Royal Society .

These smart glasses are designed to make the most of that remaining sight. They are made of transparent OLED displays, two small cameras, a gyroscope, a compass, a GPS unit, and a headphone. All incoming data can be utilized in various ways, for example, brightness can be used to show the depth of objects close to the wearer.

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A host of other information can also be processed by the system and output the information via the included headphones. The cameras could also work with the computing module and the right software to recognize the number on an approaching bus or to read a sign.

The GPS module can be used to give directions. The gyroscope helps the glasses to calculate changes in perspective as the wearer moves. All of the information is spoken aloud through the built-in earpiece.

Professor Phil Torr wants to bring machine learning into the equation, which is all about “trying to understand patterns and classify them into different types.” This could enable the system to recognize objects, like your favorite coffee mug.

It could also help you navigate inside a building by guiding you toward the exit and then recognizing and highlighting the door handle as you approach.

It’s easy to imagine how augmented reality could tie in here.

The researchers are still working on reducing the size of the glasses and plan to distribute an initial batch of 100 to blind and partially sighted people before the year is out. If the trial goes well, and there’s interest from a manufacturer, then larger scale production could be on the cards.

Brainport v100

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American scientist Dr. Paul Bach-y-Rita invented it. The BrainPort V100 records its wearer’s surroundings with the help of a video camera attached to a pair of sunglasses and then converts these image into electrical signals. These signals are then transmitted to a flat, electrode-studded mouthpiece, allowing the user to perceive the pictures in the form of a tingling sensation on the tongue.

People who are blind have a new tool to use with their cane or guide dog; it is called BrainPort V100.

The FDA approved the new device earlier in June 2015.  The device is placed in the person’s mouth and it receives feedback from a glasses cam.  Bubbles form on the user’s tongue and the users are trained to read the bubbles; like Braille for the tongue.

This device does not replace a cane or a guide dog.  It is designed to improve spatial awareness, object recognition and assist in mobility.  Europe approved the BrainPort V100 in 2013.  

The approximate price to purchase the BrainPort V100 is $10,000, but with more adults losing their vision this might be an item that will be in demand.  According to the National Eye Institute more than 1.2 million Americans, over 40-years old, are blind and by 2030 the number is expected to double.

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2 Comments

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