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 The Cyclops mobile robotic platform is designed to be used as a surrogate for blind perso...

Scientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have created a remote-controlled robot to help test the effectiveness of visual prostheses, such as an artificial retina, which are implanted into visually-impaired patients. Cyclops the robot - or, rather, the mobile robotic platform, or rover - lets scientists “see” the results that human patients could expect without having to test the device on them first. It is hoped that this approach may spare them some unnecessary procedures and one day lead to giving blind people the freedom of independence.  Read More

The BrainPort device helps the blind to 'see' through their tongues

According to the National Institutes of Health, more than one million Americans over the age of 40 are legally blind - defined by U.S. law as vision that is 20/200 or worse, or have a field of view that is less than 20 degrees in diameter. It is estimated that adult vision loss costs the country about $51.4 billion per year. A new device aims to help restore the experience of vision for the blind and visually impaired by using nerves on the tongue's surface to send light signals to the brain.  Read More

The Blind Driver Challenge aims to put vision impaired people in the drivers seat

Recent technological developments are presenting increasing opportunities for blind and vision impaired people to interact with the world in ways not previously possible. However, many everyday acts we take for granted such as driving a car remain out of reach. That’s well on the way to changing thanks to a development by a team of students at the Virginia Tech University, who have designed a car that allows blind and visually impaired people to take the wheel and drive unassisted.  Read More

Sight through sound - CASBliP prototype

If you’re lucky enough to have perfect eye sight, it is incredibly difficult to imagine what the world is like for a visually impaired person. There have been some astounding breakthroughs in the development of new technologies to assist the blind which aim to replicate the function of the eye, but this project takes a totally different approach. The Cognitive Aid System for Blind People (CASBLiP) uses lasers and digital video images to create a three-dimensional acoustic map which, when relayed through headphones, enables users to "see" the world with sound.  Read More

Contact lenses coated with stem cells could help cure some forms of blindness

The humble contact lens has long been used to improve people’s vision, but now researchers have restored sight in patients suffering corneal damage using a technique where contact lenses are cultured with stem cells. Fast, cheap and non-invasive, the groundbreaking technique even has the potential for regrowing skin and other organs.  Read More

The zebrafish is a popular aquarium species
 Pic credit: Charles Badland, Program in Neuro...

Since the eyes of the zebrafish contain a mosaic of light-sensitive cells whose structure and functions are nearly identical to those of human eyes, their study may help understand the progression of disease and find more effective treatments for blindness. A study of the retinal development of zebrafish larvae by scientists from Florida State Universityand has identified a genetic switch that should shed new light on these molecular mechanisms and, consequently, provide much needed insight on inherited retinal diseases in humans.  Read More

The integrated solar panels

Blinds are handy things. They give us privacy at night and block the sun’s rays during the day. But what if there was a way to capture the light from the day and give it back at night to illuminate the house? That’s the thinking behind Vincent Gerkens’ concept design which takes a Venetian blind and combines it with flexible solar cells and electroluminescent foil to produce the ‘Blight’ – that’s short for ‘Blind Light’, but I’d be tempted to give the name some more thought if I were Vincent given the images of pestilence and decay the word evokes. The Blight captures solar energy during the day and uses it to power the electroluminescent foil covering the blinds to produce light at night.  Read More

Kurzweil's kReader can now translate scanned text and read it out in your language.

Ray Kurzweil is one of the most amazing intellectuals and inventors of our time. From his teenage years he's been building a long list of extraordinary achievements, from his early work teaching computers to compose music, to his world-first font-independent optical character recognition system, to his pioneering electric synthesizers that are so accurate that even musicians can't discern them from a real piano in listening tests. In 1976, blind music legend Stevie Wonder bought the first production model of the Kurzweil Reading Machine, a tabletop-sized device that was able to scan text documents and read them out using a text-to-speech engine. Last year, Kurzweil teamed up with Nokia to integrate the reading machine and its synthetic voice into the N82 mobile phone, letting blind or illiterate users read documents, menus, bills, and anything else they could capture on the phone's inbuilt camera. Now, Kurzweil has announced that the kReader phone can translate text it captures that's in another language and read it out to you in your language. It also has new text-tracking abilities to make it even easier to capture all the text on a page.  Read More

Touch Sight camera for the blind

Capturing an image takes on a different meaning with the Touch Sight camera. The device makes it possible for the visually impaired to take digital photos by using a Braille-like screen to make a raised image on the user’s forehead of whatever the lens sees.  Read More

Takumi Yoshida's SENS phone concept design

"SENS", from Takumi Yoshida, is a mobile phone design catering for those with visual impairment including complete blindness. The phone assists visually impaired users through a special keypad design, real-time audio feedback and touch sensing technology.  Read More

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