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Blind

— Science

Neuroscientists could help people see with their "mind's eye"

By - June 6, 2012 2 Pictures
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
— Mobile Technology

“Intelligent” goggles highlight obstacles for the visually impaired

By - May 30, 2012 1 Picture
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
— Mobile Technology

Navatar system could help the blind navigate indoors

By - May 24, 2012 1 Picture
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
— Health and Wellbeing

New light-powered retinal prosthesis could restore sight to the blind

By - May 15, 2012 2 Pictures
Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in North America, while retinitis pigmentosa causes approximately 1.5 million people worldwide to lose their sight every year. Individuals afflicted with retinal degenerative diseases such as these might someday be able to see again, however, thanks to a device being developed at California’s Stanford University. Scientists there are working on a retinal prosthesis, that uses what could almost be described as miniature solar panels to turn light signals into nerve impulses. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Human embryonic stem cell transplants found to improve vision in clinical trials

By - January 24, 2012 1 Picture
UCLA researchers are reporting a milestone in the therapeutic use of stem cells after two legally blind patients who received transplants of specialized retinal cells derived from human embryonic stem cells reported a modest improvement in their vision. Monitoring of the patients’ progress over a four month period also found no safety concerns, signs of rejection or abnormal cell growth. The researchers are claiming that the success of the procedure could pave the way for a new therapy to treat eye diseases. Read More
— Robotics

NSK develops four-legged robot "guide dog"

By - November 21, 2011 17 Pictures
Guide dogs for the visually impaired provide an important service and help provide a welcome sense of autonomy to physically-challenged individuals. Unfortunately, the highly-skilled canines require about US$30,000 in training over several months, and always seem to be in short supply. The growing demand for these specialized animal companions gave a group of engineers from Japan's NSK corporation and the University of Electro-Communications just the impetus they needed to design a mechanical solution, and the robotic guide dog was born. Read More
— Good Thinking

Haptic shoe could replace the white cane

By - October 17, 2011 3 Pictures
Within just the past few years, scientists have developed an impressive number of experimental systems designed to help the blind navigate city streets. These have included devices that mount on the wrist, are incorporated into glasses, are worn as a vest, and that augment a traditional white cane. A young researcher at Hewlett-Packard Labs in Bangalore, India, however, has come up with something else - a navigational device for the blind that's built into a shoe. Read More
— Mobile Technology

Student-made tablet app may make dedicated Braille writers obsolete

By - October 11, 2011 1 Picture
Undergraduate student, Adam Duran, made excellent use of his time at Stanford University, where he attended a two-month summer course organized by the Army High-Performance Computing Research Center (AHPCRC). Together with his mentors, Adrian Lew and Sohan Dharmaraja, he created a potentially game changing application that should make the lives of visually impaired people both easier and less expensive. The application turns a tablet into a Braille writer and thus saves the blind from having to purchase a device that may cost up to ten times more than a tablet. Read More
— Wearable Electronics

Tacit: Wrist-mounted sonar for the visually impaired

By - August 22, 2011 3 Pictures
We’ve seen a number of devices - such as the UltraCane and EYE 21 system - that combine sonar and haptic or audio feedback to let the visually impaired “see” their surroundings through the senses of touch or hearing. Tacit is a similar device that also uses sonar to measure the distance to objects and provide users with a ‘view” of their surroundings through haptic feedback. But unlike previous devices we’ve looked at, Tacit is mounted on the wrist so it doesn’t impair a user’s hearing or interfere with the use of other assistance devices such as canes. Read More

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