Emerging technology is changing the way people with disabilities live their lives. The EyeRing gives blind people a new way to “see” the world and Haier’s Eye-Controlled TV allows people with mobility disabilities to operate a television independently.
Developed by a team called Fluid Interfaces at MIT’s Media Lab, EyeRing recognizes object details for people who are blind.
It’s easy to use; the user points at an object and says what they want to know about the object. The user wears headphones with a microphone attached. For example, if you want to know the currency of a paper bill you point at it, say “currency” into the microphone, and press a button on the ring. The camera on the ring then takes a picture and sends that image to a smartphone via Bluetooth.
Installed on the smartphone is a custom Android app that processes the image and a text-to-speech module then feeds back to the user the answer. Users receiving a response to their question almost instantly.
Not only can the camera identify currency, color, text, and pricing, it can also be used as a replacement for canes. When two images are taken the ring can work out the distance between the two objects and creates a 3D map of the surrounding area.
Commercial development is at least two years away and Fluid Interfaces is currently working on developing an iOS version of EyeRing. You can watch a short demonstration video of EyeRing below.
This Eye-Control TV, developed by Haier, gives users with mobility issues the ability to independently control a television. To use the set, you sit in front of a black rectangular sensor and allow the device to calibrate by chasing a circle around the screen with your eyes.
You can use your eyes for basic TV controls like changing channels and adjusting the volume. To adjust volume, you simply look down. A control panel will show up, and from there, you can move the slider left or right by looking at icons — you can also select mute. To change channels, look at the top left-hand corner of the screen and blink. That’ll bring up a display featuring large still pictures of videos. Look at one and blink at it to select it.
The display seems adjusted in such a way that normal blinks won’t trigger it, so you’re less likely to accidentally set something off.
Testers say the Eye-Control TV is not quite ready for the commercial market, but a very cool concept none-the-less. You can view a demonstration video here.