The Public Library of Science recently published peer-reviewed research in its journal PLOS One from scientists at The University of Technology Sydney that studied the use of smart glasses to serve as an aide to visually impaired people.
The glasses were utilized to “see” objects around the participants in the study and turn the object into a distinct auditory sound.
The study included 14 participants, 7 with low or no visual capabilities, and 7 sighted but blindfolded individuals as a control.
The research participants were seated at a table and scientists placed objects in front of them.
The glasses categorized the object and created an audible sound that played in the participant’s ear.
As the participants reached out to touch the object, the glasses were trained to provide an audio signal to indicate when the participant’s hand was about to make contact.
The study indicated that the use of the device did not tax the cognitive abilities of the participants leading to the idea that device wearers could have a much expanded auditory library of objects.
With AI-enhanced recognition capabilities growing each day, the concept could easily grow into a tool that could help the blind “see” more clearly what is around them, recognizing hundreds or thousands of objects.
AI is also being utilized to help those with hearing impairments, with Google’s Live Transcribe providing a small device capable of transcribing on the fly to enable the 466 million people with hearing loss to interact more effectively.
Likewise, with 43 million in the world with no sight, and 295 million more with severe visual impairments, the new study from Australia holds great promise of helping a large community of people.