There has never been a better time to be blind. Today’s technology and education create an environment where visual impairment doesn’t hold blind people back.
Recently, a Dutch startup looking for ways to help blind and visually impaired patients, Envision, has disclosed its plans to integrate its artificial intelligence (AI)-powered software technology into Google Glass at CSUN.
Envision has developed its software on Google Glass with its Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2 –it is a wearable device that provides hands-on workers and professionals with glanceable, voice-activated assistance.
This combination of new technology and Google Glass empowers visually-impaired and blind people to be able to see their environments. The glasses use AI to extract different visual information from images of their surroundings and then speaks them out loud using the Glasses built-in speaker.
Joy Barry, one of Envision’s Smart Glasses beta testers said, “I always tell people that I am only blind. I am not in position where I can’t help myself. I can help myself. I can still do a lot of things. I am just blind. . . This kind of freedom is very invaluable, especially when you’re outside and have a cane or a guide dog in a hand already. This is a game-changer for me and my independence.”
Envision’s software provides the fastest and most accurate OCR (Optical Character Recognition) that can read any type of text from any surface, read complex documents and letters, detect colors, describe scenes, recognize faces, and find objects from over 60 languages.
Karthik Kannan, co-founder of Envision was delighted to work with Google Glass’ technical specifications saying it has been an ideal for the company’s development needs.
“The level of support we’ve received from the Google Glass team has enabled us to replicate the fantastic user experience of the Envision app and deliver it in a seamless way that empowers blind and visually impaired people worldwide with a hands-free, easy way to ‘see’ the world around them through the spoken word,” Karthik Kannan said.
In a statement, Head of Partnerships at Google Glass, Melvin Chua, expressed his excitement as Envision uses Google’s Glass Enterprise Edition to help people easily access the visual information around and get things done.
Pre-orders for the new smart-glasses is currently available, its starting price is reduced at $1,699. However, once shipping starts in August the retail price would be at $2,099.
According to reports, an estimated number of 253 million visually impaired people won’t be able to afford the new technology. But this new tool isn’t a bad idea, after all, it can dramatically optimize the independence of those who can afford it.
Founded in late 2017, Envision was awarded at the 2019 Google Play Awards as the Best Accessibility App available in iOS and Android. It is a privately held company located in The Hague in the Netherlands.