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EyeRing Could Help Blind People See Objects

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the radar-finger dept.

Hardware 31

cylonlover writes "Generally speaking, the vast majority of augmented reality applications that enhance the world around us by overlaying digital content on images displayed on smartphone, tablet or computer screens are aimed squarely at the sighted user. A team from the Fluid Interfaces Group at MIT's Media Lab has developed a chunky finger-worn device called EyeRing that translates images of objects captured through a camera lens into aural feedback to aid the blind."

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31 comments

Chunky Finger? No, Damit, we want visors (2)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#40978403)

Somebody send Geordi La Forge over there to straighten those people out.
Nobody is going thru life poking their finger every which way, even blind people realize how dumb that looks.

Hell even Google's got the camera on glasses figured out, and you can do a earbud or cochlear implant if you still insist on doing sound waves.

Re:Chunky Finger? No, Damit, we want visors (2)

jhoegl (638955) | about 2 years ago | (#40978429)

RTFA shows that it is for reading not for walking down the street.
It uses a camera, an android app, OCR, and text-to-speech technology to aid the blind.

Re:Chunky Finger? No, Damit, we want visors (1)

jhoegl (638955) | about 2 years ago | (#40978449)

Crap... I guess it can be used for that.
So much for my speed reading skills.
Anyways, complaint still invalid, as this is a prototype. No reason it couldnt be mounted elsewhere.

Re:Chunky Finger? No, Damit, we want visors (3, Funny)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#40978461)

I read TFA, its still a clunky, hackerish and unrealistic approach. There is far better technology out there, and I;m no longer impressed just because someone managed to use Android.

Re:Chunky Finger? No, Damit, we want visors (1)

inputdev (1252080) | about 2 years ago | (#40978709)

I read TFA, its still a clunky, hackerish and unrealistic approach. There is far better technology out there, and I;m no longer impressed just because someone managed to use Android.

I concur - especially when they really should simply be using the phone itself - I don't see how adding an accessory (camera + bluetooth) is any better than holding the phone.
also - I thought it was pretty funny that the only information the guy used to buy a shirt was that it was gray and $27.

Re:Chunky Finger? No, Damit, we want visors (2)

Meshach (578918) | about 2 years ago | (#40978455)

Somebody send Geordi La Forge over there to straighten those people out. Nobody is going thru life poking their finger every which way, even blind people realize how dumb that looks.

Hell even Google's got the camera on glasses figured out, and you can do a earbud or cochlear implant if you still insist on doing sound waves.

The article says that these are just a proof of concept: tight now the device only can identify currency, text, pricing information on tags, and colors. The idea is that it can be used to develop the glasses to give the blind information about their surroundings.

Re:Chunky Finger? No, Damit, we want visors (2)

SourceFrog (627014) | about 2 years ago | (#40978963)

Until they walk into a McDonalds. We're going to see a lot of blind people beaten up.

Re:Chunky Finger? No, Damit, we want visors (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 2 years ago | (#40981139)

Nobody is going thru life poking their finger every which way

It's standard commuting behavior around here.
 

Re:Chunky Finger? No, Damit, we want visors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40984857)

Before anyone passes judgement on something like this, consider the perspective of the blind:

- Most devices currently on the market for blind individuals are very expensive. Consider a braille embosser that costs several thousand dollars (contrasted with a sub-$100 inkjet printer for the rest of us), color-reading and bill-reading tools that cost over a hundred dollars, refreshable braille displays that start at several thousand dollars, books and games that are three times more expensive than their print counterparts, assuming they are available at all. A device like this, even if not perfect, would hopefully rank high in affordability.

- The visually impaired need to rely on sighted people for many tasks. For example, my fiancee who is completely blind (and my source of information), folds her money in different ways to identify it. But what it also means is that when she receives change, I have to sort the bills for her so she can then fold them properly. She also has been cheated by a cashier at least once, and the only reason it was caught is because she was with a sighted friend.

- Many visually impaired individuals have differing opinions on things like wearing glasses or using canes. My fiancee outright refuses to wear sunglasses at all. Devices that are more discrete and small (and especially that can be put away with ease) would appeal to a wider group of the visually impaired.

So, while the EyeRing may not be the ideal device for everyone, it is a beacon of hope to the visually impaired to see attention directed their way.

Re:Chunky Finger? No, Damit, we want visors (1)

Tokah (859694) | about 2 years ago | (#40985187)

Actually, there's good reason for using something that slips on a finger. Aiming a camera at something you can't see with your head would be a lot of trouble. Exploring things by touch is much easier and more accurate. Take the price tag reader, how would you know if the tag it was reading was attached to the shirt you were considering without feel? It could be reading the price for a different product right next to it. Until we can read data straight into our visual cortexes, I think a smaller version of something like this will beat out geordi's visor.

OCR? (2)

Dwedit (232252) | about 2 years ago | (#40978497)

This sounds like the perfect opportunity to throw in OCR. Recognize a printed sheet of paper, or anything else with words on it, then read it back to someone, or do something else with the text. Perhaps even translate it. Maybe even someone who isn't blind could benefit from that.

Re:OCR? (1)

MacBurn11 (2430370) | about 2 years ago | (#40980825)

I bet you could find some random rightsholder that would try to sue you for that...

Awesome (1)

Lord Lode (1290856) | about 2 years ago | (#40978501)

As computer vision and hardware evolve, life might get better and better for the blind. That is, until bionic eyes become a possibility :)

Re:Awesome (1)

danlip (737336) | about 2 years ago | (#40978631)

Bionic eyes already exist and are tested in humans. The resolution sucks (less than 600 pixels) but I could see a hybrid solution - 600 pixels could easily be enough to aim the camera where you want, blink, and then the external camera and software could use OCR to read the text to you.

Sick of wasting resources on inferior people (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40978607)

We as a society spend way too much in the way of resources on people who are flawed in some way. Look, if you're blind, you need to leave the gene pool. There is really no easier or kinder way to put it - you are a flawed individual and in the jungle, you would not survive. Think of the things we could do with the time and money we would otherwise piss away on inventing ways for inferior people to live in our fast paced world. It a shame, and it needs to end.

Re:Sick of wasting resources on inferior people (2)

marcmcn (527239) | about 2 years ago | (#40978733)

Is your society in the jungle? If we are part of the same society, which I think we are, it seems the more we can create to assist others in our society the greater the return in: research, technology, investments, job growth. In our society we do have moral and ethical character that makes our lives have more personal value when we help others. A capitalist doesn't doesn't see "inferior people", they see opportunity, good or bad it all gets shared with society in one form or another. And yes, I get your point about living in a Darwinian way, but we do not live in a utopian society that I am aware of.

Re:Sick of wasting resources on inferior people (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40979287)

[if] you are a flawed individual and in the jungle, you would not survive.

Is your society in the jungle?

Not much jungle under bridges.
Plenty of trolls, though.

Re:Sick of wasting resources on inferior people (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40978737)

I imagine you would be the first person complaining for help if you somehow became handicap. We are no longer living in the jungle, we may still be animals, but we find ways to overcome any hurdle that can be thrown at us. That is why we are on top of the food chain. Also, I'm sure your way inferior to someone like Steven Hawkins.

Re:Sick of wasting resources on inferior people (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40978869)

I imagine you would be the first person complaining for help if you somehow became handicap. We are no longer living in the jungle, we may still be animals, but we find ways to overcome any hurdle that can be thrown at us. That is why we are on top of the food chain. Also, I'm sure your way inferior to someone like Steven Hawkins.

Not that it makes your point about that idiotic AC any less valid, but who the fuck is Steven Hawkins?

Re:Sick of wasting resources on inferior people (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40978961)

I meant Hawking can't believe I missed that.

Re:Sick of wasting resources on inferior people (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40978887)

Why would you need to leave the gene pool if your blindness isn't congenital?

Re:Sick of wasting resources on inferior people (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40979409)

We as a society spend way too much

Who's we, white man?

Selfishness is a white man's disease. I want this, I want that. I don't give a shit about anyone else or society or future generations. I'm poor, gimme welfare. I'm old, gimme my social security and my medicare. Take the money later from some chump who was born today.

The ancient Orientals were wiser and could think beyond the white man whose only concern in life is me me me. In times of famine and starvation, old men who who couldn't work would voluntarily hike themselves to the mountains to meditate and die -- with dignity -- and freeing his children from the burden of feeding him when food was scarce.

If physically unable, they would rent the village "noble cart" -- specifically constructed for this purpose -- and instruct his children to carry him in it to the mountains. Their ancient wisdom said that I'm old, I've already reproduced and lived a full life... let the young have a chance.

Some traces of this mentality still remains in the East. For instance in Korea during bad economic times, layoffs begin with the oldest, most senior worker who's been with the company the longest. This is the exact reverse of how things are done in the white man's world. The reasoning is that you've already been working and making money here a long time, you're old and your children are all grown up, so give the job to the young worker with babies to feed.

Unfortunately the white man's disease has spread to the East and such selfless displays of wisdom are the exception rather than the norm. Except for having yellow skin and not being obese, young Orientals today are exactly the same as Americans.

Re:Sick of wasting resources on inferior people (1)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#40980423)

you are a flawed individual and in the jungle, you would not survive.

Bet you didn't even see that predator sneak up behind you and sink his '-1 Flamebait' fangs into your ass.

Hello? Paging 47 years ago.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40978719)

Re:Hello? Paging 47 years ago.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40981873)

Awesome link, thanks for sharing!

Or on the back of your head... (2)

slew (2918) | about 2 years ago | (#40978905)

Targetting the blind with this kind of product misses the bigger audience that might want to have eyes on the back of their head...

For example, I'm sure the police, military or the even firemen would be interested in something like that, then they can amortized the development costs to provide a version for blind folks pointing forward at an even lower cost.

Someday, maybe even sharks will be interested in it (when they get that version with the embedded laser)...

Re:Or on the back of your head... (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 2 years ago | (#40979181)

Wild Bill Hickok would've killed for that sort of tech...

Re:Or on the back of your head... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40980185)

It's not hard to have eyes on the back of your head. You can buy a big pair of glasses and stick a reflective material to the side of it and you can glance at that to look behind you.

If you live long enough.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40981509)

..... I guess you get to see everything ..... again.

There was glasses developed in the eighties that did something similar. It looked a lot better, but like all these wonderful things, they never made it to market. Wish I could remember who did it.

Obligatory Apple patent war joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40982177)

I still wouldn't need one of these, to tell the difference between an iPhone and a Samsung Galaxy.

Eye ring? Ow. (1)

chinton (151403) | about 2 years ago | (#40984173)

And I thought a nose ring sounded painful... Yikes.
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