Electronics > Projects, Designs, and Technical Stuff

Google glasses have come on a long way


I was watching "Click" on BBC today and they showed how Goole glasses where being used to help blind people. You can ask the glasses to describe what they see for example or you could call a friend and ask them to describe what the glasses see. They will also read text and speak it back to you.

Decades ago a design for glasses to help the blind was published in Wireless World. They used a pair ultrasound transducers and fed tones into a pair of earpieces to help blind people navigate. I can't remember exactly how audio interface worked and I'm not sure if a working product was ever developed.

It's nice to see that Google are making significant progress in a niche electronics application.

Yeah, that’s been out for a while, and I think that’s a fantastic application for the Glasses tech.

Now, while I applaud all progress with respect to accessibility, Google is far from a leader in this regard. By all accounts, Apple’s accessibility support is far better than Android’s.

Apple has tons and tons of accessibility features built into their devices and software. Yesterday was the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, and leading up to that, they posted another video showing off the built-in accessibility features in use. Forbes’ accessibility writer did an interesting write-up about it: https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevenaquino/2022/11/30/apple-releases-accessibility-centric--short-film-the-greatest-highlighting-disability-in-tech/

Sure, the Glasses are a great use, but it’s $3500. There’s a lot to be said for the robust accessibility features built into every iPhone for $0.

Our gyroscopes are in our head, it's charity so they have to be happy with what they get but an iPhone is a terrible form factor for the blind compared to a head mounted camera.

Sure, but not everyone has, or can afford, a head mounted device, whereas everyone has a smartphone. As I said: there’s a lot to be said for built-in accessibility features that don’t require any additional hardware or software. (Ditto for robust, built-in support for assistive hardware, without having to buy expensive software to go with that.)

How much is the accuracy of that glass? How helpful is it to the blind people in real life?


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