Tuesday, April 6, 2010

LookTel - Artifical Vision for the Blind

Have you ever thought how much is still left to do for all those people that need technology the most?
Take the blind or the visually impaired people... We currently have some much processing power in a regular smartphone; couldn't it be put to use to aid them in their daily life?

That's exactly what LookTel wants to do, and it seem to be doing a pretty good job at it - as you can see in the following video:

At the moment, most of the hard work is done in a remote desktop computer, but as technology evolves it0s just a matter of time before it could all be done in the smartphone itself (or maybe using standard web services in the cloud.)


  1. Wouldn't they need to be able to see enough to point the camera at an object? Have you ever seen a blind person point at something?

  2. Not really. Blind/vision impaired people live just fine without cameras, and they can easily detect (by touch) magazines, cans, and lots of other objects. This system would simply allow them to better differentiate between them. I don't find it hard for them to point something at an object they know it's there.

  3. pointing at an object and aiming a shaky handheld camera at the front of a label (how are they gonna face their cans forward? They cannot see the label!) are two different things. Try this: pick something on your desk, and open up your camera phone. Then turn around and close your eyes. Now turn back with your eyes closed and try to take a picture of the object in question. Maybe if you held the object in your hand, that would be different.

  4. The software works by image/pattern recognition (in addition to the OCR), so it's likely to recognize cans in any position (provided they're entered in the system in "360º".

    As for the pointing itself, I still don't know what would be the problem. Blind people already do just fine picking and placing their objects without any extra assistance - this system would just help them to further distinguish similar objects that are hard to differentiate by touch alone.

    If they can find a can/box/magazine as it is, I don't think it will that much harder to point a camera at it - even if they have to touch it first to know where it is.


Related Posts with Thumbnails

Amazon Store