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Toyota’s Project BLAID helps the blind to get around

How many of us tend to take our sight for granted, let alone the rest of our senses? Well, if you are one who feels that technology has a role to play in making sure that mankind progresses on the whole, regardless of any kind of physical shortcomings, then you would be pleased to hear that Toyota, the company from Japan that has contributed a whole lot to the world of automobiles, has introduced their Project BLAID that will assist the blind in getting around. After all, isn’t mobility empowering in the first place?\

Project BLAID is a kind of wearable device for the blind and visually impaired which will enable them to do a whole lot more in terms of getting around, delivering an unprecedented level of freedom, independence and confidence. Of course, some of us might think that the current generation of canes, dogs and basic GPS devices should be more than adequate, but Project BLAID will fill up the gaps left behind by the aforementioned examples. Users will wear it around their shoulders, as it assists them to better navigate indoor spaces, including the likes of office buildings and shopping malls, as it helps them identify everyday features, including restrooms, escalators, stairs and doors.

How does Project BLAID do so? For starters, the device itself will come with cameras that detect the user’s surroundings and sends relevant information to him or her via a combination of speakers and vibration motors. Users can then opt to interact with the device via voice recognition and buttons. Toyota has every intention to eventually integrate mapping, object identification and facial recognition technologies in due time.

Future versions should see Project BLAID be able to let the blind get up and around a public area freely, as the cameras pick up nuances of a place such as where the toilet is, and the ilk. This makes it a whole lot easier and more convenient for the visually impaired without having to ask around. Hopefully a working model is available for the masses sooner rather than later, and that it will not cost too much, either.

Press Release