One of the frustrations that the blind face on a daily basis lies in identifying objects. There have been many apps and devices designed to help us identify color, currency, and objects that have bar codes, but many of these have glaring drawbacks, such as camera positioning issues. Researchers at MIT are working on a new device that will help the blind identify many different types of information about an object using one device that gives an answer quickly.
Their device, called the EyeRing, works using a micro camera worn on the finger, a smart phone, and an ear piece. The user starts by choosing the mode for the device, such as color or currency. They then take a picture of the object, and shortly after, receive the information they need. In the video linked at the end of this article, the user is able to identify both the color of the shirt they’re looking at and how much it costs.
The EyeRing is still very much a prototype, but the researchers hope that it will one day be available to the public. Some of the improvements that the researchers want to make in the next prototype include a camera that can process in real time, a gyroscope, and a microphone.
As a user of multiple object recognition apps, I think that the EyeRing would be a major improvement. Current bar code readers are fast, providing you find the bar code quickly. The Recognizer app from Looktel only recognizes objects that are in the database that you yourself have to create, and the other apps can take a lot of time to process before you find out what the object is. So the EyeRing looks like it will be able to address many of the shortfalls these other options have in one neat package.
Stay tuned for updates.
To learn about all of the features of the EyeRing visit this link: http://phys.org/news/2012-08-eyering-visually-impaired.html
This video demonstrates how the device works: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e20c6jdTiLc