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Wednesday / April 17.
HomeminewsSmart Glasses for Vision Impaired

Smart Glasses for Vision Impaired

A neuroscientist who gained experience in Australia has developed low cost smart glasses that will enable people with very poor sight to make use of their remaining vision and gain vision assistance.

Stephen Hicks, who is developing the technology at Oxford University, told mivision it’s an exciting project to work on. “It’s the chance to work with really interesting, almost futuristic, technology in order to help people. There are labs around the world doing amazing research in computer vision. We are getting close to emulating certain characteristics of human sight. Combining that with ever more powerful mobile technology seems to me to be a perfect match for supporting visually impaired people.”

The smart glasses pick up information, convert it into a simple form then present it on high-resolution screens positioned close to the eyes or, using speech recognition technology, via headphones.

The glasses can to determine the depth of a scene, whether an object is a animate or inanimate, and even identify when and what bus is approaching.

With their transparent lenses, the smart glasses look much like standard eyewear, are light to wear and require no special training. The wearer can use their remaining sight to see through the transparent lens.

Mr. Hicks said he has tried to keep the costs of the smart glasses to a minimum by using standard mobile phone components. “Competition for market share in mobile phones has been a huge bonus for researchers like me. Every few months there are more powerful processors that cost less and use less battery. Similarly, tiny cameras and motion detectors have become common place. Even our current displays were first seen in a transparent concept phone called the Lenovo S800. Mobile phone processors have their own challenges, such as lower speeds, but we approach that by optimising our system to people’s needs, which results in a better product,” he said.

Mr. Hicks aims to sell the glasses for less than AU$2,000, launch them in the UK next year and internationally in 2015.