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  1. #1
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    Dec 2009

    Default Hi-tech Glasses for the blind

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    Bionic spectacles could soon be on sale to help hundreds of thousands of blind people ‘see’.

    Oxford University researchers are developing ‘smart spectacles’ that use tiny cameras and a pocket computer to alert wearers to objects and people ahead.
    They will make it easier for the blind to navigate shopping centres and busy train stations, and could even allow them to ‘read’ bus numbers and the computerised displays on cash machines.

    The lightweight, inexpensive glasses, which could be ready for general sale as early as 2014 if tests are successful

    Previous attempts to create such a device have resulted in large dark glasses with clunky cameras and bulky computers.
    But advances in technology mean it should be possible to create bionic spectacles that look almost indistinguishable from standard glasses.

    Transparent glasses with lenses studded with small light-emitting diodes and cameras the size of a pinhead at the outside top corners of the frame.
    The cameras will take in the information the eyes should see and send it down a cable to a mobile phone-sized computer in the wearer’s pocket.
    The computer will process the information and simplify it into a pattern of dots. The LEDs in the lenses then light up in that pattern, giving the wearer vital information about what lies ahead.
    A flickering light could mean there is a person ahead, while a solid block might signify an object such as a flight of stairs.
    While such information may seem unimpressive to the sighted, it could allow those who have lost much of their vision to regain sufficient independence to go shopping alone or take public transport.
    Adding in an earpiece could allow more complex information to be transmitted.
    For instance, the cameras could capture bus numbers or information on railway departure boards to be analysed by the computer. Once processed, the information would be passed on to the wearer via a voice in their ear.
    ...being a human...



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