You would think that technologies such as augmented or virtual reality can’t really be utilized by those who might be visually impaired. However it seems that researchers at Caltech are proving us wrong by taking advantage of augmented reality (AR), a wearable headset like the Microsoft HoloLens, and software that helps the blind “see”.

How does this work? In a way it works similar to some apps that we have seen in the past which uses a smartphone’s camera to identify objects and reads it out loud to them. However in this case, the upside is that with the use of a headset, the user can keep their hands free and walk about as per normal as the headset and software maps out what’s in front of them and will read out objects around them.

According to Professor Markus Meister, one of the researchers working on the project, “Imagine you are in a world where all the objects around you have voices and can speak to you. Wherever you point your gaze, the different objects you focus on are activated and speak their names to you. Could you imagine getting around in such a world, performing some of the many tasks that we normally use our visual system for? That is what we have done here—given voices to objects.”

However it should be pointed out that Caltech’s research isn’t the first of its kind. Earlier this year at CES 2018, we got our hands on a device called the MyEye 2.0 by OrCam which attempts to do something similar.

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