MIT's EyeRing sees for the visually impaired

A new finger-worn camera can identify nearby objects for the visually impaired.

“Point and shoot” is about to take on a whole new meaning.

Thanks to a new wearable device from researchers at MIT’s Media Lab, the visually impaired may soon have an incredibly easy way to explore the world around them. Called the EyeRing, the gadget is a finger-worn camera that allows users to identify and learn about nearby objects simply by pointing at them.

Printed with a 3D printer and used in conjunction with a smartphone, the EyeRing provides users with audio descriptions of their physical environments.

MIT’s Technology Review gives a complete description of how the tool works:

To use it, you double-click a little button on its side and speak a command to determine the ring's function (it can currently be set to identify currency, text, prices on price tags, and colors). Point at whatever you'd like more information about—a shirt on a store rack, for instance—and click the button to snap a photo. The picture is sent via Bluetooth to your smartphone, where an app uses computer-vision algorithms to process the image and then announce out loud what it sees ("green," for example, denoting the color of the shirt). The results are also shown on the smartphone's screen.

While the project is still in the research phase, study leader Pattie Maes hopes to eventually turn the EyeRing into a commercial product. The wearable device has obvious uses for the visually impaired, but could also prove useful as a translation aid or learning tool for young children.

[via Technology Review]

Image, Video: EyeRing

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