The research team at the University of Oxford partnering with the Royal National Institute of Blind People has announced that the smart glass for the blind could hit shelves by 2016.
The wearable uses a specially designed 3D camera which will project the images of the nearby objects on the glass, helping the wearer to perceive them more clearly. The team has been researching it for quite some time and the news about the prototype surfaced two months ago.
The 3D camera mounted on the frame is coupled with a small computer unit running special software to generate images of the objects which in turn will be projected on the display of the glasses. However, the glass is quite big now and further research could help them make lighter and slimmer versions of the device.
To help with the task, Google Impact Challenge has granted £500,000 worth of funding. Stephen Hicks who is in charge of the development said that this grant could help the team to build a smaller and cheaper version helping people to use it with comfort.
The current version requires the user to carry around a laptop to connect to the device and the next version could help them make a device the size of a mobile phone” and can fit into the user’s pocket.
With several trials already held, further research is expected to kick off soon and the device itself is expected to reach consumers by 2016 with a price tag of £300 which might not be too high given the comfort it could offer.
There are also other features expected to be added gradually. Participants of the trial program were able to do things which they could not otherwise, like pouring a cup of tea without spilling it, seeing their guide dog, walking without running into obstacles, etc.