Recently, Toyota decided to join other major tech companies who have chosen to make life a whole lot easier for blind or visually impaired persons. Toyota’s project BRAID is engineered to help blind people find their way around obstacles easier than before.
After announcing the launch of a new wooden car concept called Toyota Setsuna, the Japanese carmaker is now focusing on delivering a new kind of product, one that would benefit people who are blind or who have any type of visual impairment.
Up until now, an individual suffering from cecity or advanced macular degeneration relied on simple items to find their way around obstacles and to carry out everyday tasks.
Before the GPS technology could be used to fashion navigational devices for those with eye problems, blind persons used to rely on specially designed canes, Seeing Eye dogs and on they sense of hearing.
But now, Toyota wants to help these people fulfill their daily task much easier than they did when they relied on a traditional item.
The new project, called BRAID, aims to design an apparatus that can be worn on the shoulder. Equipped with motion-sensor cameras and other types of sensors, this device could identify potential obstacles like staircases, furniture, plants, and chairs and relay the information in real-time, using audio and vibratory signals.
Google aimed to design a similar device a while back. Google Glass was the name of the project, and its purpose was to aid visually impaired individual to perform various tasks by telling them what goes on around them.
Like any other smart device, the wearable BRAID gizmo will be capable of pairing off with any smart devices like smartphones, tablets and computers. Moreover, the users will be able to interact directly with the instrument either by using the comprehensive Braille-marked buttons or by making use of the voice engine.
Users will now be able to issue voice commands to the device. For example, using the voice engine, the wearer can ask the device to tell him or her their location. The device can also be called upon to supply a brief description of the environment, pointing out the major obstacles found on the way.
This means that if the users are, let’s say, in a new apartment, it can ask the device to enumerate what’s in his or hers vicinity. BRAID will scan the environment and will say something like: “at a distance of 2 meters you will find a chair.”
Of course, this project is in its infancy. Doug Moore, Toyota’s manager of the Robotics section, declared that he will ask the help of the employees to test out the prototype in all sorts of locations and situations.