RNIB and Oxford University 'smart glasses' shortlisted in Google's £3.2million UK Impact Challenge

Public urged to vote for the glasses to win the people's choice award

A project to develop smart glasses which help blind and partially sighted people to 'see' shapes and obstacles has been revealed as one of the 10 finalists of the 2014 Google Impact Challenge.

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and Oxford University have worked together to develop high-tech, cost effective smart glasses that maximize what remaining vision a person has.

Entrepreneur and star of BBC’s Dragon’s Den Peter Jones this morning revealed the 10 British non-profits selected to compete for four top charitable grants of £500,000, as well as launching the public vote that will decide one of the grand prize winners.

Neil Heslop, Managing Director RNIB Solutions, said: "We are delighted to be finalists in the Google Impact Challenge. These smart glasses have the potential to transform the way blind and partially sighted people can go about their everyday lives. One woman who tried the glasses was so excited to see the outline of her guide dog for the first time.

"We would love to win the public vote and urge everyone to vote for us so we can produce more of the smart glasses and make a different to even more people's lives."

Members of the public can learn about all of the finalists and cast their votes until 30th July, visit Google's website to vote and find out more.

Notes to editors

For media enquiries, please contact Rachel Harby, Senior Public Relations Officer, on 0207 391 2043 or 0207 391 2223, email [email protected]

Further information

Researchers at the University of Oxford have carried out research into low-cost and non-invasive wearable technologies based on depth-cameras and see-through displays to enhance sight for obstacle avoidance, face recognition and object recognition.

The glasses work by capturing images of the world with a 3D camera. This information is used to separate out nearby shapes and objects and highlight them clearly on the inside of small transparent displays. The displays form part of the lenses of the glasses, allowing people to use their own vision as much as possible.

Supported by Nesta, the Google Impact Challenge asked UK-based charities how they would change the world through innovative technology. The 10 finalists, announced today at Nesta, were selected from hundreds of applications. They are all guaranteed to receive a £200,000 grant, as well as mentorship and training from both Google and Nesta. You can keep up to speed on the Impact Challenge, and access a wide range of materials on the Google Impact Challenge Press Site.


About RNIB

RNIB is the leading charity working in the UK offering practical support, advice and information for anyone with sight difficulties. If you, or someone you know, has a sight problem RNIB can help. Call the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999 or visit www.rnib.org.uk