8 Sept. 2023 · 4 min de Lecture
The innovations dedicated to the visually impaired at CES 2024.
To start, a few words about the major technological event that is the CES (Consumer Electronics Show). It is the world's largest trade show for new technologies, held in Las Vegas every year, and this year, artificial intelligence was at the center of all the booths, on everyone's lips. It was undoubtedly the theme of the show for this 2024 edition. More than 5000 startups from around the world showcased their latest innovations in various fields. We have summarized some of the innovations unveiled at CES addressing the issue of visual impairment in all its forms.
Glidance is an American company that offers Glide, a self-guided mobility aid for visually impaired people, assisting them in navigating and moving autonomously. How does Glide differ from the traditional white cane?
While Glidance does not describe their product as a replacement for the white cane, we believe that Glide represents an evolution of the services offered by white canes, with significant improvements. Glide is equipped with sensors that provide real-time guidance to ensure safe movement, avoiding obstacles, locating specific points on a map, and stopping in front of stairs and elevators. So, how does it work in practice? The device incorporates robotics elements, including sensors and software that provide haptic and audio feedback. Glide is not yet on the market, but it will be available by 2025 for a few hundred dollars.
"Glasses Empowering the Blind." We have just witnessed potential replacements for the white cane, but what about guide dogs? "The guide dog is an excellent solution, but not scalable," claim the developers of .Lumen on their website. .Lumen offers glasses replicating the main features of a guide dog with haptic outdoor navigation and object detection. The glasses provide directional information, such as the presence of obstacles on the path and available routes. As of now, these glasses are not yet commercialized or in the production phase and will likely undergo several improvement stages before hitting the market.
OOrion offers a mobile application for visually impaired people, assisting them in identifying, locating, and being guided towards objects and text in their environment, using only their smartphone's camera and the latest innovations in computer vision. The application works entirely without needing the internet and provides remarkable image recognition performance in real-time. The app comprises five features: an object search functionality, a text search functionality, as well as functionalities to scan objects and text in the environment, enabling users to identify what is present around them. A brand-new feature was unveiled in a sneak peek during CES 2024: it now allows users to record their own objects in the database of objects recognizable by OOrion. This new feature promises to significantly expand the tool's use cases, both for individuals and locations catering to visually impaired audiences. The application can be downloaded for free on the App Store and is available in 32 languages. Download OOrion.
LTH01, the glasses offered by Lighthouse Tech, allow the detection of obstacles above the waist using front sensors that scan the environment to alert users of potential obstacles in their paths. They describe their tool as: "A glasses frame to help visually impaired and blind individuals venture out with confidence." The glasses operate with ultrasonic sensors that detect obstacles, providing haptic feedback to the user. (See the diagram below for more information)
Lighthouse Tech focuses on outdoor mobility, with a product not yet on the market, but it is expected to be available soon.
As you may have learned from this article, the vision sector is strongly impacted by new technologies, particularly the rapidly advancing field of artificial intelligence in recent months. CES highlighted the commitment of companies to innovation for people with disabilities. Whether these innovations are already available or in development, aids for visually impaired people are evolving and becoming increasingly effective. A great example of the use of disruptive technologies to positively impact society. Excited to find out what the topic of CES 2025 will be!
To discover other existing technologies for the mobility of visually impaired individuals, click here: