Low Vision

Seeing Assistant is developed by Transition Technologies S.A., available on iOS and consists of a number of applications that are customized for people who are blind or have low vision. The Seeing Assistant applications help users who are blind or have low vision navigate through a city, recognized colors, detect light, read barcodes and enlarge images.

The Seeing Assistant modules boast an intuitive menu and are optimized to work effectively with VoiceOver and use voice control function in the application services and for entering text.

  • Seeing Assistant Move gives pedestrians information about their present location, helps them navigate to a chosen destination, plan the route and record the trace.
  • Seeing Assistant Home helps with everyday domestic tasks with color recognition, light detection, magnifying glass and recognition and generation of bar or QR codes.
  • Seeing Assistant Light detects light sources and generates a sound which changes pitch relative to the intensity of the light.
  • Seeing Assistant Magnifier magnifies small print and objects. In addition, it can change lighting contrast and colors.

The DynaVox 15, a powerful speech-generating tablet with a 15” display has been introduced by DynaVox Systems, LLC. The new tablet is part of the groundbreaking T-Series of touch-based speech-generating devices, which includes the DynaVox T10. The DynaVox tablets are intended for people who have aphasia, autism, cerebral palsy, cortical visual disabilities, early ALA, Locked-in syndrome, stroke and anyone else who can benefit from speech-generation.

The T15 was carefully developed to provide quick, simple communication and ease of use. It boasts a vibrant display with high-contrast PCS symbols that enhance clarity and target size benefitting those with vision disabilities. 

A new app developed by computer scientists at the University of Washington called StopInfo integrates with the OneBusAway app to make buses in Seattle more accessible for riders with vision disabilities. StopInfo provides specific information on location, safety features and stop closures for each bus stop in King County. Moreover, it collects and shares information that people who are blind have identified as important when riding the busses. The app utilizes information that riders using the OneBusAway application update and provide about each stop.

An experiment at the University of Cincinnati is developing advanced tools based on a device called the Enactive Torch. The Enactive Torch is handheld and has infra-red sensors that “see” objects in front of it. It emits vibrations to an attached wrist band. The vibrations change in intensity as objects become closer.

The Enactive Torch helps people with vision disabilities navigate through narrow passages like doorways and busy sidewalks as well as if they could see.

Read more about the Enactive Torch.

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) unveiled a prototype app that helps airline passengers with vision disabilities navigate the airport independently. The app works with approximately 500 beacons located throughout the terminal to call out various points of interest, including gate boarding areas, restaurants, and power outlets.

The prototype app was developed through San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program. The program paired SFO with the Indoo.rs who is a leader in indoor navigation technology.

The prototype will undergo additional testing and refinement prior to being released for use by the public.

Emirates sets a new standard by becoming the first airline to add Audio Description to movies on its inflight entertainment system called (information, communication and entertainment) ICE Digital Widescreen. Audio Description benefits people with vision disabilities by providing a recorded narration, which describes the scene during the gaps in dialogue.

Emirate’s ICE system recently won the award for the “World’s Best Airline Inflight Entertainment” for the 10th consecutive year at the Skytrax World Airline Awards.  The system offers more than 1800 channels of entertainment, which includes over 400 movies from around the world, hundreds of hours of TV programing, and thousands of hours of music.

Ducer Technology has launched new smart shoes. They’ve launched their new haptic footwear under the wearable technology brand Lechal. The shoes help people with vision disabilities navigate from place to place. The shoes can be synced to your smartphone and will buzz the wearer to alert them whether to turn left or right. Vibrations also indicate which way the wearer should turn.

There are two Lechal products: a complete set of shoes and polyurethane insoles that can be inserted into existing shoes. The system also contains a smartphone app which connect via Bluetooth. 

Microsoft has been developing a ‘smart headband’ to aid people who are blind in ‘seeing’ the world around them. The Microsoft device helps those with low vision or who are blind through audio instructions about their surroundings delivered to an ear piece.

The device is still in the early stages of development and remains a research project for now. However, it is being tested by a group of eight people who are blind in the area of Microsoft’s UK headquarters in Reading. Reportedly, testing has occurred around the busy Reading train station, helping the group navigate staircases, escalators platforms and ticket barriers.

This concept video created in 2012 gives and idea of what using the devise may be like.

A new smartphone app that will tell people with vision disabilities when to cross the street, which direction they’re going, and how many lanes the street is wide. The app can also announce the name of the street in any direction, tell users when to cross and how much time they have. The app is being developed by researchers and students at the University of Minnesota.

Dr. Myoung-Woon is leading a research team at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology that has developed a new method of producing touchable objects with detailed lines and curves. The revolutionary new method combines 3D printing with 3D thermal reflow treatment and can be used to produce braille books, braille picture books and teaching materials with far greater flexibility in color, height, and size. Further, it is safe for humans as it does not require a UV coating or harmful chemical treatments.


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