6 Ways Tech Is Transforming Blind Peoples’ Lives
According to the CDC, more than 3.4 million Americans aged 40 and older are legally blind or visually impaired.
By 2050, that number is expected to more than double, according to a study from the National Institute of Health.
Thankfully assistive technology for the blind has come a long way since Louis Braille designed his alphabet in 1824.
Check out 6 remarkable tech innovations that are changing the way blind people live.
Resembling a VR headset, the eSight 3 is actually far more remarkable than some Oculus – it helps the legally blind see again. An high-resolution camera at the center of the glasses transmits real-time video to screens inside the glasses. Proprietary algorithms then enhance the video’s color, contrast, magnification, and more, to allow the blind to use a computer, read, or see the faces of their loved ones.
While refreshable Braille displays are nothing new, the devices tend to cost thousands of dollars and use ancient operating systems. The Blitab is an Android tablet with a smart Braille surface that costs just $500, allowing the blind to access online content.
Created by Microsoft, Seeing AI is a smartphone app that literally narrates the world around you. Currently iOS only, Seeing AI can read documents, describe scenes, and identify US currency. Simply point your phone at a person the app has “met” before, and it will identify that person. Point it at a barcode and seeing AI will tell you what product it is.
Be My Eyes
Decidedly more lo-fi, Be My Eyes is a social network of sorts, connecting the blind with the sighted. A network of sighted volunteers connects with a blind or visually impaired user and acts as their “eyes” through a live video chat.
The Israeli startup OrCam has developed a small camera that is clipped to the side of a pair of glasses. Using a bone conduction speaker, the device will then read text aloud or identify objects the wearer is looking at.
Horus is a similar wearable that can be worn like a pair of headphones. Two cameras and a pocket-sized processor offer the visually impaired facial, object, and text recognition.
You can keep up with tech products for the blind and visually impaired at the American Foundation for the Blind’s product database. And if you want to keep up with innovations for Apple users, the blog Apple Vis offers many resources.
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