Technology has become a focal point for the majority of people on the planet. However, there are some people that can not enjoy it as much as most and those are of course the visually impaired. For a blind person, technology is best experienced audio wise, or at least that is the general perception. It does not have to be this way, especially not in 2013. OpenGlass, a new project developed by Brandyn White and Andrew Miller, is a product meant solely for the visually impaired.
Personally I think it’s about time that people are starting to innovate for those with special needs. I have always been afraid that there is going to be an ever increasing gap between handicapped people, and those that are capable of functioning in society without care. The OpenGlass project is something that should be encouraged and funded in my humble opinion.
When I see these two visually impaired guys light up from excitement, there is no longer a question that this project is of high importance. The OpenGlass project, seemingly based on the Google Glass glasses, is an extension of the original glasses. Not only is there software incorporated that lets the visually impaired hear what the glasses see, but they also hear the digital voice through a bone conductive technology, hence the muffled sound that you and I hear in the video. The usage is best explained by the developers themselves:
“The user takes a picture and asks a question. These get sent to cloud workers (mechanical turk) and twitter users who answer it. The answer received is read aloud to the user through Glass.”
The technology also implements another custom created feature called Memento, which is an image matching system that takes the streamed video and compares it to a cloud-based database. The feature is explained as such:
“A native app streams real-time video frames to a cluster, which performs image matching against a dataset of images and annotations created by a sighted user. Annotations associated with matching images are sent back to Glass and read aloud to the user.”
This is not the first time this kind of technology has been presented. However it is definitely one of the fastest we have ever seen here at Bit Rebels. With technologies like the OpenGlass project emerging, I think the world could be a whole lot more comfortable for the visually impaired in the very near future.