Wearable device will give people with vision impairment greater independence

Post date: 
Wednesday, 16 March 2016

A wearable device that aims to help people with vision impairment have greater mobility is being developed by car manufacturer Toyota.

The gadget, called Project Blaid, is worn on the user’s shoulders and equipped with cameras to help detect surroundings. This information is then relayed to the user through speakers and vibration motors. Users will be able to interact with the device through voice recognition and buttons.

The level of detail the new technology will communicate to users includes recognising parked cars on the side of the road and low hanging branches over paths. Developers behind project believe the gadget will be able to make out facial recognition, object identification and mapping in the future.

Toyota said the device was not meant to replace aids currently available to people with vision impairment, but to "help fill the gaps left by canes, dogs and basic GPS devices by providing users with more information about their surroundings".
Robin Spinks, senior strategy manager at the RNIB, said: "This is a very exciting development within the rapidly growing field of wearable assistive technology. Mobility is at the heart of so much in our society and a device like Blaid could open up limitless possibilities for millions of blind and partially sighted people."
There is currently no release date for the new device.

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