We are working on a visual aid that will pick up information difficult for a blind person to get, convert it into a simple form and then pass it on in a suitable way. It requires no surgery and no special training to use, and it can be taken on and off easily. It is designed to be lightweight and as small as possible - the processing unit is pocket size, and the glasses look like regular glasses.
You can watch a recent presentation on our project delivered by Stephen Hicks and John Worsfold at the RNIB's Technology for Life conference in September 2013. Running time is 25 minutes.
It is very important to us that as many people as possible have access to these glasses, as they can really turn a life around. So, we are trying to keep the costs down as low as possible. For the visual portion of the glasses, we use off-the-shelf products like the Microsoft Kinect and USB webcams where we can.
We also think about how the user will feel wearing the glasses. Keeping them lightweight and as transparent as possible makes them look more 'normal' and helps the wearer interact with other people. Eye contact is very important in human communication!
Another important aspect in the product development is what information we pick up and pass on. There are many different options for what we can show, and only our users can tell us what they need to know and how we can show it.
The development of the glasses can be split into three different sections - how we get information, what we do with it, and how we make it available to the user. Navigate to each of these pages to get more technical info about each section.