innovative glasses for blind people

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These glasses may help the sight impaired to get about more easily

June 18, 2015

Innovation Factory

If you’ve seen Richard Linklater’s animated film ‘Waking Life’, with its minimalistic images, you may be able to visualise the Smart Specs experience, as VA-ST start-up co-founder Stephen L. Hicks explains on MIT’s Technology Review website. These depth-sensing and augmented-reality lenses can assist people with sight impairment to move around more easily.

The glasses show the world around us in black, white and variations of grey, making closer things stand out. VA-ST emerged from a project at the University of Oxford (where Stephen L. Hicks is a research fellow in neuroscience and visual prosthetics) to build glasses that use a ‘depth sensor and software to highlight the outlines of nearby people and objects and simplify their features’.

Hicks now hopes that Smart Specs can help legally blind people who retain some vision to pick out faces and obstacles, especially in low light. The lenses’ commercialisation should begin early next year, for under $1,000, according to Hicks.

Get to know VA-ST and its Smart Specs better here.

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