Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Blind

The Lechal haptic shoe, in fiery red

Three years ago, we heard about a prototype shoe that could be used to guide the wearer via haptic feedback. Designed by Anirudh Sharma, who was then a researcher at Hewlett-Packard Labs in Bangalore, India, the Lechal shoe was intended for use mainly by the blind. This week, however, Sharma and business partner Krispian Lawrence announced that the production version of the Lechal will soon be available for preorder, and it's aimed at helping all people navigate the city streets.  Read More

A prototype contact lens is designed to let the visually impaired form a picture of their ...

The Faculty of Engineering at Israel's Bar Ilan University has developed a prototype of a contact lens which could enable the visually impaired to see the world in a whole new light. Developed by Professor Zeev Zalevsky, the contact lens processes digital images and translates them into tactile sensations which can then be felt on the user's cornea, allowing them to form a picture of their physical surroundings.  Read More

Measurements from Hubble images are into translated into designs that are then 3D printed

Scientists have used 3D printing technology to transform images taken from the Hubble Space Telescope into tactile "pictures" for the blind. Astronomers Carol Christian and Antonella Nota of the Space Telescope Science Institute are experimenting with 3D models as a means of aiding education for people who cannot study visual images.  Read More

One of two versions of MIT's prototype portable scanner

If you're like a lot of people, you don't make an annual trip to the ophthalmologist to get your eyes checked ... and you really ought to, in order to catch any problems before it's too late. If it were possible to get them checked at a regular doctor's office or clinic, though, perhaps you might do so more often. That's one of the reasons that a team at MIT have designed a new hand-held retinal scanner, that can quickly and easily be used anywhere.  Read More

The eSight headset in use

If someone has difficulty hearing, they can use a hearing aid to boost the level of sounds reaching their ear. If someone has limited vision to the point that they're considered legally blind, however, it's not like they can just use an electronic "seeing aid" ... right? Actually, that's just what eSight is.  Read More

The Eyes-Free Yoga software relies on the Kinect's skeletal tracking capabilities to provi...

Conventional yoga classes with an instructor up front demonstrating positions to the class aren't generally a viable option for the visually impaired, but a team of computer scientists from the University of Washington (UW) is set to open this healthy activity up to such users with the help of a Microsoft's Kinect.  Read More

Peek is a smartphone-based eye-testing kit being developed in the UK (Photo: Peek)

A new smartphone-based portable eye examination kit called Peek is aiming to bring hope to people suffering from eye problems who live in remote parts of the world. Besides being portable and easy to use, system makes it possible to perform complex eye tests with no need for expensive equipment.  Read More

Watchmaker Eone's debut timepiece, the Bradley, is aimed at the visually impaired and indi...

Unfortunately, there aren't many options available for the visually impaired when it comes to timepieces. While a number of talking watches and braille wristwatches with removable covers are already on the market, those often draw attention to a person's disability. That's why watchmaker Eone's debut timepiece, the Bradley, indicates the time with magnetic ball bearings that can be read subtly by touch.  Read More

OrCam's camera device, attached to a pair of glasses by a small magnet (Photo: OrCam)

The OrCam is a small camera linked to a very powerful wearable computer. It sees what you see and through your finger-pointing understands what information you seek, relaying auditory feedback through a bone conduction earpiece. Using an intuitive user interface, the device can read text, recognize faces, identify objects and places, locate bus numbers and even monitor traffic lights.  Read More

Scientist have developed microrobots that may be able to help prevent blindness

Just like other parts of the body, the retina needs oxygen in order to survive. If it doesn’t receive enough – should its blood supply be restricted, for instance – permanent blindness can result. Therefore, the sooner that doctors know if a patient’s retina is receiving insufficient oxygen, the better the chances that they can take action in time. Soon, they may be able to use tiny injectable robots to get them the information they need.  Read More

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