MedGizmo - MedGizmo: Wearable Assistive Devices for Visually Impaired – Update
20.02.2016, 10:51   MedGizmo

MedGizmo: Wearable Assistive Devices for Visually Impaired – Update

According to the World Health Organization there are about 285 million people with severe visual impairment in the world; and 39 million are completely blind. Naturally, technology advances are tackling the issue of providing help to these people. Here we provide a brief overview of recent developments.

Previously MedGizmo aggregated some news reports:
Systematic approach to technology development is discussed in detail  in Wearable Assistive Devices for the Blind by Ramiro Velázquez, Universidad Panamericana, Aguascalientes, Mexico. The human body had been studied to transmit visual information to the blind. This graph represents the body areas involved in wearable assistive devices: fingers, hands, wrist, abdomen, chest, feet, tongue, ears, etc.
Recommend downloading the paper and read these chapters:
  • Assistive devices worn on fingers and hands
  • Assistive devices worn on the wrist and forearm
  • Assistive devices worn on the tongue
  • Head-mounted assistive devices
  • Vests and belts
  • Assistive devices worn on the feet

WT | Wearable Technologies  published a post where there is a list of a number of devices that exist on the market: Out of Sight, Out of Fright

Here we are providing an update of recent developments and gadgets

Microsoft Cities Unlocked

We have developed the Cities Unlocked demonstrator, which allows Nokia Lumia  930 and 1520 handsets to interact with an Aftershokz headset to provide three-dimensional audio to augment reality. The headset has been adapted using GPS, accelerometers and a compass to detect head orientation and provide spatially tailored audio, to give the wearer a better  understanding of their surroundings. Currently it interacts with GPS, Bluetooth beacons and Wi-Fi along a technologically enabled route

Digital Trends has a detailed description of the device - Microsoft blinded me for an hour, turned my ears into eyes, and blew my mind
And the project is described in the Brochure

An intuitive wearable device with a smart camera designed to assist people who are visually impaired.
  • OrCam recognizes text, products and faces, and speaks to you through a mini earpiece.
  • The OrCam MyEye device can read printed text, in real time.
  • You can read newspapers and books, signs, labels on consumer products and even text on a computer or smartphone screen. Perfect for use at home and on the go.
  • The OrCam MyEye device identifies known faces.
  • User is recognizing a product - Recognize your personal objects
  • Personalize your OrCam MyEye device by teaching it to recognize specific products around you.
  • Recognize previously entered consumer products, money notes and credit cards to make shopping quicker and easier.

DOT: the first braille smartwatch.
Affordable E-Braille reader for visually impaired people around the globe
  • With Active Braille Technology
  • Affordable Price - Dot's core technology enables the price to be around $300.
  • Reading text - Now blind people can access various text data such as messages, tweets, and looks anywhere, anytime.
Smart Watch
  •     Watch
  •     Alarm
  •     Notification
  •     Gyroscop
  •     Bluetooth 4.1
  •     Touch Sensor
Braille learning - The device paves a path to literacy for 95% of new Braille learners. Braille learning could be done alone.


The FingerReader is a wearable device that assists in reading printed text. It is a tool both for visually impaired people that require help with accessing printed text, as well as an aid for language translation. Wearers scan a text line with their finger and receive an audio feedback of the words and a haptic feedback of the layout: start and end of line, new line, and other cues. The FingerReader algorithm knows to detect and give feedback when the user veers away from the baseline of the text, and helps them maintain a straight scanning motion within the line.
More information is available at FAQ page

eSight Electronic glasses
Electronic glasses that let blind people actually see.
eSight is the only patented, assistive-device of its kind anywhere in the world. eSight is wearable, handsfree, portable - and most importantly, eSight is a non-surgical device. eSight is currently registered with the United States FDA and Health Canada.
eSight enables blind people to actually see. What they do with their newly restored sight is up to them. This includes virtually all activities of independent daily living such as:
  •     Seeing the faces of loved ones, in some cases for the first time.
  •     Reading.
  •     Using a computer or smartphone.
  •     Watching TV.
  •     Working in an office.
  •     Going to school or university
  •     Working in a factory.
  •     Viewing events.
  •     Arts and Crafts.
  •     Cooking.
  •     Walking.
  •     Playing sports.
  •     Traveling independently.
  •     Resuming previously abandoned hobbies (cards, woodworking, etc.).
  •     Flying a plane (yes, we actually have one such example).

Affordable Tablet for the Blind
By borrowing from microfluidics, a team of University of Michigan researchers are reinventing the Braille display to be cheaper and more useful.

SmartSpecs Glasses
Developed by Oxford scientists, SmartSpecs capture real time images and enhance the contrast for legally blind users
Based in the OcuLab at the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, and work in close collaboration with the Torr Vision group in the department of Engineering.
News report: These Glasses Could Help the Blind See

Linspace is a revolutionary 3D-Printed Display developed by Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam (Germany) that will allow blind people to have a spatial perception of maps and images.
A new kind of display called Linespace 3D-prints images in real time, allowing blind people to examine them by touch
We present a tactile display system designed with this goal in mind. The foundation of our system is a large tactile display (140x100cm, 23x larger than Hyperbraille), which we achieve by using a 3D printer to print raised lines of filament.

Two Internet resources that have a wealth of information on the subject:
A blog that aims to tell what the world of design and technology is developing in order to improve the world’s accessibility. With a strong focus on innovation, is a place where information and ideas are exchanged as well as a platform to recount all the solutions design and technology are making in the field of disability
Assistive Technology blog

A good scholarly article:
Haptic wearables as sensory replacement, sensory augmentation and trainer – a review
Peter B. Shull, Dana D. Damian

20.02.2016, 10:51   MedGizmo
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