Camera-equipped glove helps the blind
While studying computer engineering at Manav Rachna University in India, 20-year-old Roopam Sharma wanted to develop a game for people who are colour-blind. It was during his research that he learned that there had been next to no innovation for the blind since Braille was invented more than 200 years ago, and that’s in spite of 285 million people suffering from visual impairment around the world, according to the World Health Organization.
Astonished by the lack of innovation, Sharma interviewed 60 blind people in India, and concluded that those with visual impairment face three major problems: reading text unless it is in Braille, navigating their environment, and using smartphones.
Setting to work to address all three problems, Sharma came up with a device called Manovue (from Spanish ‘Mano’ meaning ‘hands’, and French ‘vue’ meaning ‘vision’), which the user wears like a glove.
The index finger of the glove has a camera that captures images of text, converting written words to audio as the user moves his finger over a page. The lower part of the palm receives signals from the environment, vibrating if an obstacle is near, and signalling whether it is on the right, left or ahead of the user.
The glove is connected to a mobile app, which acts as a personal assistant, giving audio directions, sending texts and making phone calls according to voice commands.
Manovue has been tested on over 250 users in partnership with the Blind Association of Delhi and Faridabad, which also subsidises the device, cutting the usual 4,000 Rupee price tag to 500 Rupees. Sharma hopes to reach 50,000 people by the end of this year. You can gift a Manovue to a loved one via www.manovue.com/gift.html
Image courtesy of Orbis - Giving the Gift of Sight
Last updated: 13th of September, 2016