Assistive technologies for visually impaired person are always one of the most important research directions nowadays. Some researches are applying the cutting-edge science such as wireless and computer technology. To get a true picture of assistive technology and its impact on the blind and visually impaired, let’s begin by taking a look at how much has changed in the last 35 years. Even as late as the early 1980’s if you were visually impaired, you faced a huge disadvantage in the working world.
Most business communication came through written correspondence, reports, memos and printed books. Our world was very much made up of paper and ink. Typewriters were on a handful of desks and computers were not found on anyone’s desk. Personal computers were in nobody’s homes, nor were Blue Ray players, mp3 players or even cell phones.
Today almost everyone owns a computer or has access to one. Today’s correspondence comes by email and most reports are in an electronic format. Printed material can now be scanned and more readily read by the visually impaired.
Computers can easily be read with screen-reading software on the market today.
Thanks to technology, a blind or visually impaired person can live a more fulfilling life.
Smart phones, video magnifiers and GPS software are just a few of the technological innovations that have enhanced the lives of the visually impaired. Each day holds even more promise as technological advances flourish.
Today there are even end-to-end vision enhancements that use a tele-rehabilitation solution that combines a smartphone and a compact head-mounted display to maximize a person’s residual vision related to other health problems. This wireless innovation is from EyeSee, which was awarded the second place in 2016 Vodafone Americas Foundation’s Wireless Innovation Project (WIP), a contest designed to “promote innovation and increase implementation of wireless related technology for a better world.”
There is also a newer form of assistive technology developed by Horus Technology that’s neither disease-specific nor requires an implant. It uses computer technology and video magnification to help those who are visually impaired. A small camera is mounted on a pair of glasses and is connected to a small computer and the information is received through headphones or bone conduction.
It is preprogrammed with some information and the user can also add to its programming to make it more suitable for their individual needs. It has the capability of recognizing some pre-programmed objects automatically, like buses and traffic lights, as well as hundreds of other items. Needs vary from user to user so you can teach it to recognize, for instance, places you regularly visit, like a grocery store, as well as faces and personal objects.
Until recently technology could only harness certain tasks like reading and location services. Today we have assistive technology available that people can use in their daily lives for grocery shopping, crossing the street, reading newspapers and books and even face recognition. While none of these things can replace vision it certainly enhances the lives of so many and tomorrow holds even more promise for the blind and visually impaired.