Glasses for the Blind

I was surprised to find out that 75% of registered blind people have the ability to detect light. This means that technologies can actually allow people who are blind to make use of the small amount of visual information they have. A major example of this is assisted vision glasses. One way these glasses can be used is converting one type of visual information into another, which is quite clever. If someone can distinguish lightness and darkness, as many people with visual impairment can, the glasses can turn that into depth information by making closer objects brighter. This can be achieved by using reflections from infrared laser beams to detect shape and distance and a normal video camera to record the detail of objects.



Another example is giving the user color and light information to allow them to distinguish between moving and still objects. In addition to utilizing the user’s visual abilities, these glasses can also perform useful tasks like giving directions and reading signs, speaking the information into an ear piece. Below are some pictures of different eyewear technologies for people with impaired vision.



Unfortunately, it seems that most of the assistive eyewear currently on the market are much bulkier than regular glasses.  This made me think back to the presentation in class 0n aesthetics, and how important it is for a product to not only function, but also to look good. It’s sad that a device that could be extremely beneficial to someone might not get used simply because it looks strange and stands out. However, I’m sure that with advances in technology, these types of glasses will get less bulky and more fashionable over time. I think it’s a really creative idea to use the abilities someone has and adapt them for a much wider variety of uses.


One Response to “Glasses for the Blind”

  1. Jeff Dusek says:

    These are very cool technologies- I wonder if you could do something similar using Google glass? I think a big issue with these sort of very high tech devices is the need for funding to shrink the size, etc. Can you think of uses for the technology outside of AT? If there is a broader market, maybe the development money can be raised, and the technology can be progressed with considerations like aesthetics in mind.

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