Glasses that deliver a sense of vision to people who are blind, via technologically enhanced human echolocation, have won the MedTech and Pharma and Overall Winner categories in this year’s Australian Technologies Competition (ATC) awards. Now in its 13th year, the ATC demonstrates the talent, intelligence, and ingenuity that exists in Australia.
Aria Research, a Sydney based deep-tech assistive technology company, was co-founded by Robert Yearsley and Mark Harrison. Developed in collaboration with University of Sydney, University of Technology Sydney, Blind Citizens Australia and World Access for the Blind Australia, with Australian Federal Government support, Aria has developed a non-invasive wearable device using artificial intelligence and machine vision to deliver sight through sound for blind people.
Taking the form of smartglasses with inbuilt cameras/sensors, speakers and processing, the device leverages and augments blind users’ natural abilities to identify and locate objects based on the sounds they make by virtually sonifying visible, but normally silent objects in their surroundings. It then creates a virtual 3D, real-time model of the users’ immediate environment, which is used to generate a life-size, real-time audio information overlay to deliver an analog to the function of vision.
Aria was among 21 finalists from close to 100 entries, all of which have potential to “disrupt industries and better lives”. All finalists will be given opportunities to connect with investors, mentors, and industry experts, with the goal of assisting them to scale and grow their ventures.