A Smart Car Window Displays View to Blind Passengers

gateway-arch-426492__340I live in a city filled with reminders of epic travelers from the historic journeys of Lewis and Clark to the cross country treks in automobiles along Route 66. There are still many icons around Saint Louis and across Missouri modern travelers can visit today.

From Missouri’s rolling hills and natural wonders explored by Lewis and Clark to the kitschy man-made attractions that helped make Route 66 a favorite for family road trips, the unique views make a Missouri road trip memorable.

For blind travelers, this is a part of the trip they miss. A new prototype smart car window aims to change the experience by enabling blind or partially-sighted people to visualize passing scenery through touch.

The smart car window named Feel the View takes pictures that are turned into high-contrast monochrome images. These images are then reproduced on the glass using special LEDs.

By touching the image, different shades of grey vibrate with a range of 255 intensities, allowing passengers to touch the scene and rebuild in their mind the landscape in front of them.

Feel the View was conceived and developed by Ford in Italy in collaboration with Aedo, a start-up that specializes in devices for the visually impaired.

“We seek to make people’s lives better and this was a fantastic opportunity to help blind passengers experience a great aspect of driving. The technology is advanced, but the concept is simple – and could turn mundane journeys into truly memorable ones,” explained Ford representative Mac Alù Saffi in a written statement.

See how Feel the View may give visually impaired travelers epic journeys in the future in this video:

A Free App Bringing Sight to the Blind and Visually Impaired

226541_2066754712732_918981_aMaking a big difference in someone’s life can be as easy as pulling out your smart phone for a few minutes every day. Really! A not-for-profit app makes life easier for those with vision problems by connecting them with sighted helpers through a smartphone app. Be My Eyes allows the blind to handle big and small tasks, while sighted volunteers get the joy of helping someone else in an easy and informal way at their convenience.

Be My Eyes harnesses the power of technology and generosity to connect visually impaired users with sighted volunteers through a live video connection. Volunteers lend their eyes to assist visually impaired users with a wide range of tasks, both large and small. For example:

  • Matching colors and clothing
  • Distinguishing between household or kitchen products; cans, cleaning products, shampoo, etc.
  • Determining departure or arrival of public transportation
  • Navigating in unfamiliar surroundings

The app is available for Android and Apple products. The Be My Eyes community is growing with more than 900,000 users across 150 countries helped by hundreds of thousands of sighted volunteers. Microsoft has also joined the effort offering Be My Eyes users a direct connection to receive technical assistance from the Disability Answer Desk, a free consumer service for Microsoft’s customers with disabilities.

This video demonstrates how Be My Eyes works.

Want to learn more about lending your eyes and stay connected with this awesome app? Be My Eyes is on Twitter and Facebook. Plus you should check out the website at http://www.bemyeyes.org/. Please consider following me on Twitter too.

Check out this great way to help visually impaired people

Check out this great way to help visually impaired people