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Blind

The EyeRing system features a finger-worn camera module and wirelessly connected smartphon...

Generally speaking, the vast majority of augmented reality applications that enhance the world around us by overlaying digital content on images displayed on smartphone, tablet or computer screens are aimed squarely at the sighted user. A team from the Fluid Interfaces Group at MIT's Media Lab has developed a chunky finger-worn device called EyeRing that translates images of objects captured through a camera lens into aural feedback to aid the blind.  Read More

Retinal implant with power cable (Image: Retinal Implant AG)

Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a degenerative eye disease that affects 200,000 people in the United States and Europe and has left 15 million people permanently blind worldwide. German biotechnology firm Retina Implant AG has developed a microchip that provides a useful degree of artificial vision in patients who have been blind for even long periods. The 3 x 3 mm (0.118 in) chip is implanted below the surface of the retina where it electrically stimulates the optical tissues. After successful clinical trials in Germany, the chip is now being tested in Hong Kong and Britain before moving on to planned trials in the U.S.  Read More

Researchers have discovered that the chemical AAQ temporarily restores some sight in blind...

Researchers have discovered a chemical that makes cells in the retinas of blind mice sensitive to light, temporarily restoring some vision. They are working on an improved compound that they hope could one day be used to restore sight in human patients suffering from retinitis pigmentosa, the most common form of inherited blindness, and macular degeneration, the most common cause of acquired blindness in the developed world.  Read More

Drawing of a Bio-Retina being inserted into an eye and affixed to the AMD damaged retina b...

At least 25-30 million people worldwide have age-related macular degeneration (AMD), one of the leading causes of blindness in middle-aged and older adults. The Israeli start-up Nano Retina has announced their new Bio-Retina, a tiny array of photodetectors which can be implanted directly on the retinal surface. Ready to enter clinical trials in 2013, the Bio-Retina restores vision to AMD sufferers almost immediately following the simple implantation process.  Read More

With the Busalert software, visually impaired commuters can find out how far the bus is an...

Blind people in São Carlos, a city in the state of São Paulo in Brazil, have had their lives made easier when they are out and about their city. The municipality has hooked up with Grupo Criar, a company specialized in traffic systems, to design the Busalert app to make it easier and more efficient to use the city’s bus network.  Read More

EyeMusic is an experimental system for the blind, that translates visual information into ...

Sensory substitution devices work by converting one type of sensory input into another – examples would be systems such as CASBLiP and EYE 21, which allow the blind to “see” by assigning sounds to images. Now, a team of researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have created a similar wearable device, known as EyeMusic. It “employs pleasant musical scales to convey visual information,” and could one day help the visually impaired more easily perform tasks that the rest of us take for granted.  Read More

Main researcher Jordi Roig, using the OnTheBus app

Like the rest of us, the blind can use speaking navigation apps to find their way around the city. A new Android application developed at Spain’s Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, however, is designed specifically to help blind people get to their destination by bus. Appropriately named OnTheBus, the app could also be used by the deaf, the cognitively-impaired, or anyone else.  Read More

Researchers at the University of Texas are exploring the possibility of electrically stimu...

A team of researchers at the University of Texas is exploring the possibility of electrically stimulating the visual cortex of the brain to create simple images and shapes. This development could lead to a visual prosthetic device that would effectively "trick" the brain of visually impaired or blind people into seeing ... and such a device, the authors say, is only about five years away.  Read More

The 'intelligent' goggles use computer algorithms to help the partly-sighted navigate

Researchers at the Universidad Carlos III in Madrid (UC3M), Spain, have developed a pair of “intelligent” goggles that make getting around a bit easier for partly-sighted people, by providing them with Terminator-style vision. Using a pair of cameras mounted on a virtual reality headset connected to a tiny computer, the device scans the area ahead of the wearer and displays information about the scene as color-coded outlines that convey the distance and shapes of objects that are difficult to otherwise see or interpret.  Read More

Eelke Folmer watches as student Dora Uchel demonstrates the Navatar system

When blind people are trying to navigate the city streets, they can get assistance from a speaking GPS-enabled smartphone, just like everyone else. Once they move indoors and lose access to the required satellite signals, however, it’s a different story. While there are some indoor navigation systems that require things like radio-frequency tags to be strategically placed around the building, it’s currently unrealistic to expect to find such systems installed in many places. The University of Nevada, Reno’s experimental new Navatar system, on the other hand, just requires a smartphone loaded up with a digital two-dimensional map of the building in question.  Read More

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