Smartphones for visually impaired people

A new adaptive technology is being developed by the scientists for blind or visually impaired people. This technology will help them to see things through their phones or tablets. This research has got funds from the “Google faculty research awards” that is the specialist in machine learning and computer learning and is based at the University of Lincoln. The University of Lincoln runs a research center for autonomous system. The idea is to set up smartphones for visually impaired and help the people suffering from visual disabilities specially while navigating in an unfamiliar environment. The fields for their research work include personal robotics, food, health care, intelligent transportation and security.

Smartphones for visually impaired people


Based on the earlier work done on the assistive technologies by the Lincoln center of autonomous systems, the basic plan of the team is to use colors and 3D depth sensing technology in the new cell phones and tabs, similar to the recent Google project “TANGO’’. The project tango works by tracking 3D motion and then creating a 3D model of once surrounding and it also enables navigation and recognition of objects. The team will then develop interface to relay to the users which could be vibrations, sounds and can even be spoken words. The best thing about this new technology is that the visually impaired will not have to carry any extra equipment with them which are heavy and also make them feel conscious about themselves.

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Although there are a lot of succour that are available for the help of blind people like Georgie, the smart phone that consists of all the apps a visually impaired person would need in day today life like communication apps, travel apps and even life style apps which consists of audio player that plays books and newspapers, voice assistant and color finder which helps finding colour of an object. Other than this we have got dog guides, special cameras for blinds and even wearable sensors.

Keeping in mind the visually impaired users there is VoiceOver feature included in iOS. With use of VoiceOver, iPhone / iPad will speak out everything out loud shown on the screen. Know more about VoiceOver feature in iOS.  

The research team includes Dr. Oscar Mozos, specialist in machine learning and quality of life technologies and Dr. Grzegorz cielniak who works in field of machine perceptions and mobile robotics and is lead by Dr. Nicola Bellotto expert in machine perceptions as well as human-centered robotics from Lincoln’s school of computer science.

They aim to make this world an easier place for the visually impaired by creating a system with “human in the loop” which provides a pertinent localization to the blind. It is a technology which understands how people look and observe certain features of their surroundings. Another amazing feature of this system will be the ability to learn as well as adapt to the user’s experience and it also helps the user to develop as it learns from its territory and also by interacting with other people.


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