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12 Ingenious Gadgets & Technologies for the Blind

Let’s continues with the topic “Technology for blindness”.

Today I will bring us some new ideas which can make blind people’s life more colorful.

It’s difficult for those of us with sight to imagine just how different daily experiences are without this ability – but all of the challenges associated with visual impairment are being addressed at an amazingly rapid pace with stunning modern gadgetry. These 12 inventions for the blind featured on Yanko Design use today’s technology to read, navigate, learn, solve puzzles and create art.

B-Touch Mobile Phone


Imagine how much easier it would be for the visually impaired to perform everyday tasks like talking on the phone, reading a book and recognizing objects if they had an accessible all-in-one device like theB-Touch Mobile Phone concept. Designer Zhenwei You incorporated braille, voice systems and optical reading devices

Braille Rubik Cube

It may take a bit more time to actually feel out the face of each individual square in a Rubik’s cube than to attempt solving it visually with colors, but this braille-equipped version is certainly an interesting challenge even for those who aren’t visually impaired.

Safe and Sanitary Mug

How would you like having to burn yourself on hot coffee just to keep track of how much you’re pouring into a mug? Most blind people have to use their fingers, but the awesome Braun Bell Concept Mug by Sang-hoon Lee and Yong-bum Lim makes the process much more safe and sanitary. The mug emits a certain sound when liquid reaches each water sensor.

The Eye Stick – Walking Stick that Sees

Sonic vibrations provide one of the most accurate ways for the visually impaired to get their bearings in an environment, soequipping the end of a walking stick with a little sensor can instill confidence even when dealing with stairs and other potentially dangerous scenarios.

Tactile Flash Cards for Learning

When you can’t see, you rely upon hearing and, of course, touch in order to learn – so tactile flash cards imprinted with the name of an object in braille on one side and a physical texture on the other are a particularly effective way to become familiar with new things.

Feel the Time


The design of the ‘Feel the Time’ watch is so brilliantly simple, it’s amazing that it’s not already commercially available. The minimalist black face features two separate discs, each with one tiny nub – one that signifies the hour, and one for the minute. A break in the outer circle at the 12 o’clock mark acts as a guide to get an accurate reading.

Braille E-Book

It’s hard enough to lug around multiple heavy books, but doing so with expensive, extra-bulky braille books is downright impossible. So as convenient as E-readers are to those with sight, they would be far more so to the blind. This Braille E-Book concept, which dynamically changes the surface pattern with an electromagnetic signal, could revolutionize books for the blind.

Sign Language Voice Translator

One particularly troubling communication scenario is that of a deaf person and a blind person, unable to hear or see each other’s voice or gestures, respectively. So the Sign Voice Language Translator is an interesting prospective solution – a gadget on a necklace that converts gestures to voice and voice into written text.

Navigation Bracelet

What looks like a modern piece of plastic jewelry is actually a navigation system that uses GPS, voice commands and audio and haptic feedback to provide the blind with a level of independence that is currently impossible for many. Yanko Design notes that it could benefit the sighted as well, simply making it fast and easy to navigate a new city.

Touch Color Painting Tablet

Sure, people without sight can paint and often produce stunning artwork without ever having a real sense of color. But when color temperature becomes literal, cool blues and hot reds are differentiated in a new way that permits far more creative expression.The Touch Color tablet uses thermal energy and a hand-held color wheel to create works of art. The color wheel can even capture actual colors from a user’s environment and transmit it to the tablet.

Color Sensor Helps See with Sound

Art is invaluable, but why not bring the ability to sense colors into everyday life with a more practical application? The Bright-F Color Sensor can help the blind “see” colors by associating each color with a particular sound – a huge help when sorting laundry or picking outfits.

Braille Polaroid Camera

Touching an object may help a blind person get a sense of what it is, but unlike the sighted, they can’t use photographs to capture and keep memories. The Braille Polaroid Camera, however, acts as an instant braille printer, translating the basic shape of an object into texture so that the blind can collect “images” in an album.

Read from: http://weburbanist.com/2010/04/05/12-ingenious-gadgets-technologies-for-the-blind/

Making a car for blind drivers

25/03/2013 3 comments

Last time we discussed about the mobility for blindness.

Today I found a TED video about making a car for blind drivers.

Using robotics, laser rangefinders, GPS and smart feedback tools, Dennis Hong is building a car for drivers who are blind. It’s not a “self-driving” car, he’s careful to note, but a car in which a non-sighted driver can determine speed, proximity and route  and drive independently.

 

Touchscreen with relief

On the same subject of my last post, I was thinking how we can improve smart phones for blind people. Touchscreens with relief seem a good way to go. The video shows how buttons are elevated from the surface of the tablet when a keyboard is selected. If this technology can be refined to a higher resolution (with smaller buttons), one could eventually print braille on screen. This would be a huge improvement for blind people, since they don’t need a voice to say what is on the screen anymore.

Blind people and technology

Ever wondered how blind people use their smartphone? Watch this movie to see how they do it.

Do you see any improvements that can be made to this system for blind people?

Electronic Mobility Devices for Persons Who are Blind or Visually Impaired

21/03/2013 1 comment

 

The long white cane has been a symbol of blind persons around the world. This simple device has helped millions of blind persons find their way towards the place they want to go to.

It has also inspired a number of electronic mobility devices for blind individuals. Taking the concept of the white cane, developers of assistive technologies have made these electronic devices to enhance the traveling experience of persons who are blind. Most of these devices should be used in conjunction with the cane or other mobility aids.

Laser Cane

This is an electronic cane that uses invisible laser beams to detect obstacles, drop offs, and similar hazards in the surroundings. Once the cane detects the obstacle or drop off using the laser beams, it will produce a specific audio signal. The cane has three distinct audio signals; each one indicates a specific distance. The audio signal informs the user of the distance of the obstacle or the height of the drop off. This device can detect objects and hazards up to a distance of 12 feet.

A part of the cane’s handle also vibrates when there is an object in front of the user. The laser cane is suitable for persons who are blind and persons who are deaf blind. It can be used on its own. However, mobility experts strongly recommend that blind persons first learn the use of the long white cane before using the laser cane.

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Sonic Mobility Device

This is a device that is generally mounted on the user’s head. It uses ultrasonic technology to detect obstacles and other objects that are located in front of the user’s path. The sonic mobility device uses the musical scale’s 8 tones to indicate the distance of the object. Each tone signifies a particular distance from the obstruction. The user hears the tones through the device’s earpiece.

The sonic mobility device is suitable for outdoor use.
However, it may not be used in places with extremely loud noise. This device should be used with a cane or a guide dog.

Handheld Mobility Device

This is a small device which the user points around the surroundings. Once the handheld device detects a particular object, the device will vibrate. The vibration enables the user to identify that there is an object nearby.

Certain handheld mobility devices produce a level of vibration depending on the distance of the object. A fainter vibration for a relatively far object and a stronger vibration to a near one. These devices should be used with a cane.

GPS Devices for the Blind

Although mainly used in identifying one’s location, GPS (Global Positioning System) devices also help blind persons in traveling independently. Blind persons can use portable GPS systems to determine and verify the correct travel route. They can use these devices whether they are walking or riding a vehicle.

GPS devices for the blind include screen readers so the user can hear the information. Other GPS devices are connected to a Braille display so the user can read the information displayed in Braille. Blind persons should use a particular mobility device in addition to the GPS system.

drop-gps-device-for-the-blind-concept

 

 

source: http://evengrounds.com/blog/electronic-mobility-devices-for-persons-who-are-blind-or-visually-impaired

Audible frequency difference of humans

One cent is equal to 1/100th of a semitone. Humans can hear a difference starting from 5-6 cents [1]. In our thesis project we are using frequency difference to translate some video features. At 30 Hz 6 cents correspond to a frequency difference of 0,104Hz. At 15kHz  6 cents correspond to a frequency difference of 52,1Hz [2]. This illustrates that humans are a lot more sensitive to frequency changes in the low frequent regions than in high frequent regions, and thus if we want to make use of frequency change, we have to make sure that the resolution in the low frequent region is high enough.

Measurements of the audio synthesizer will be added later to check whether the frequency resolution is high enough.

Sources:
– [1] http://etd.gatech.edu/theses/available/etd-04102006-142310/

– [2] http://www.sengpielaudio.com/calculator-centsratio.htm

Super Hearing Found in People Blind at Birth

Last time, we discussed about the sense abilities of blind people. It indicated that blindness doesn’t have more sensitive senses than normal people. Today, I found a experiment which is against with that idea.

People Blind by Age 2 Have Tenfold Sharper Hearing

July 14, 2004 – People blind since infancy have at least 10 times sharper hearing than sighted people, a study of hearing skills shows.

People blinded at later ages don’t seem to have this gift. However, the study showed that the earlier people lose their sight, the sharper their hearing.  Gougoux of the University of Montreal and colleagues report the findings in the July 15 issue of Nature.

“Blind people are better at judging the direction of pitch change between sounds, even when the speed of change is 10 times faster than that perceived by [sighted people] — but only if they became blind at an early age,” Gougoux and colleagues write.

The researchers studied three groups:

  • The “early blind” group included seven people aged 21-40 who were blind at birth or up to age 2 years.
  • The “late blind” group included seven people aged 24-46 who were blind since age 5 to 45 years.
  • Twelve sighted people aged 21 to 37 served as controls.

Each subject put on headphones and indicated on a keyboard whether two tones were rising or falling in pitch. The tones started out one eighth of an octave apart and the duration of the change in pitch was 333 milliseconds. During the experiment, the tones became closer in pitch (up to 1/128th of an octave) or shorter in change of pitch (down to 20.8 milliseconds).

The early-blind subjects did as well at the most rapid condition as sighted subjects did at the slowest condition — even though the sounds came 10 times closer together.

In many cases, late-blind subjects did a bit worse than the sighted subjects, although these differences were not significant. However, the earlier a person became blind, the better that person did on the tests.

It’s already known that blind people can orient themselves to a sound better than sighted people can. The new findings show that when the brain is still young enough, it can compensate for the loss of sight.

By Daniel J. DeNoon
WebMD Health News

source: http://men.webmd.com/news/20040714/super-hearing-found-people-blind-birth

I also found something  similar with my thesis.