A Hungarian startup is designing glasses that help visually impaired people by talking to them-but it has a long way to go. What a future prototype of EVA glasses will look like (Image via: www.eva.vision)
There have been various prototypes developed over the years to assist the visually impaired. None, however, have yet included programming which reads words in the user’s environment-until now.
EVA, or Extended Visual Assistant, is a start-up based in Budapest, consisting of a small team of visual scientists, businesspeople, and designers. They’re working on developing a pair of smart glasses-glasses that come equipped with cameras, linked to a smartphone, which transmits words translated on EVA servers through bone conduction to the user. It requires no speakers and ostensibly will have 8 hours of battery life.
The cameras scan the wearer’s environment, detecting words, which are sent for translation via the synced phone. The word is then sent to the user via bone conduction, in which sound waves travel to the ear through the bones in the skull, rather than sent through the air.
This sounds promising, but the design is in its very early stages, with the company needing more venture capital before it’s able to build a working prototype. And even if it does build the prototype, some pressing questions remain, such as: how does a blind person sync this device to their smartphone, when most smartphones can’t really be used by blind people anyway? According to their website, “this step requires assistance”. Possibly the most nagging question of all, however, is, “how will the glasses select for important signs, and what will prevent them from overwhelming the user with a constant stream of talking in areas with lots of signage?” Overall, it appears EVA has overstepped itself and needs to complete the design process before trying to launch as a viable business idea. There isn’t much information available about the company’s progress, either on their own website or elsewhere, so apparently, that’s what they’re doing now. If the development team can pull it off, these glasses could help blind folks get around, by literally talking them through it.
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