Blaid: Wearable Technology For The Blind
Technology is changing the world for everyone but one area where its really helping is with new and innovative ways of solving every day problems, especially for disabled and impaired people, so now thanks to new tech these groups can can achieve greater independence and do much more than was possible before.
One such new invention is Blaid, a gadget that was developed by Toyota Japan to aid the blind when moving around in enclosed spaces. This is a huge invention in the world of wearables because it is aimed at providing mobility to a group of people who would otherwise be immobile. In the past, it was a common scene to see a blind person being guided by someone else or using a stick. The problem with the former is the fact that people are not always available to help while sticks are not very accurate in detecting obstacles. For this reason, it has been very difficult for the blind to maneuver their way around shopping malls and office spaces. Most of the visually impaired people, therefore, end up staying at home and waiting for family members to meet their needs.
- This will not be the case anymore with the invention of Blaid. This gadget is a lifesaver because it will allow people with visual challenges to live and work like other normal people. They will now be able to work in offices and do their own shopping in stores. It will reduce accidents caused by the blind significantly. Blind people running into shelves and being hit by speeding vehicles has been such a common occurrence, but this is about to change.
- For the longest time, Toyota has been in the lead when it comes to vehicle manufacturing. They have ventured into different types of vehicles and come up with a wide range of variety for all markets. Because of this, they landed at the top and have maintained this position for the longest time. Their main agenda has been to provide effective mobility to its customers by giving them efficient and reliable vehicles. They, however, realized a gap that needed to be filled and that was providing mobility to people with physical challenges.
- For disabilities such as cripples, there are special cars made for them which allow them to board and drive to their destinations comfortably. It, however, proved difficult to come up with vehicles that can be driven by people who cannot see. The management at Toyota as indicated by technology news agreed that this is a group that might never benefit from their products and they decided to make Blaid for them.
- This gadget is worn on the shoulders, across the back and contains cameras which see on behalf of the user. It is also installed with sensors and speakers which it uses to communicate and navigate around.
- It gives instructions to the user on their whereabouts while the user is also able to instruct it on where he needs to be. This gadget uses artificial intelligence to tell different places apart. For example, it cannot direct a person to the kitchen when they have asked to go to the washroom, and so on. The invention of wearable technology has contributed a great deal to the development of this gadget.
- These are technological innovations that are actually worn by their users and become a part of their lives. The importance of such devices cannot be over emphasized and to some extent even overrides that of mobile devices because they directly affect mobility. A person without a mobile phone, for example, can communicate verbally while a blind person who cannot access Blaid might never be mobile.
- In Japan, the home country for Toyota, the blind population is so high and this is mostly attributed to old age and the nuclear energy pollution that took place many years back. Much as the majority are the old, there is also a good number of productive individuals who are either completely blind or suffer from severe visual impairments.
- By providing mobility to these people, Toyota has not only improved their personal lives but also the general economy because they will now be able to work.
- Unlike using a cane, Blaid is able to identify names of places and direct the user to where they need to go. It can tell the difference between a staircase and an escalator and allow the user to choose what they are comfortable with.
- In public places which are usually very busy, it will not be possible to tell who is blind and who is not (unless you detect the device they are wearing) because everyone will be going about their activities.
According to the management at Toyota, this new technology has been tested and proved to work perfectly. They, however, intend to develop it further and include features such as facial identification, mapping and object identification. This is with an aim of improving the quality of lives led by the visually impaired. This they say is their way of giving back to a society that has seen them make huge profits in the past.
This guest post was submitted by Shawn Clark, a Content Writer, Communications Analyst has a specialized expertise in writing articles on technical stuff, for more than two years with interest on new trends in technology and gadgets for Fusecrunch and Wearabletechdigest. He is working as Communications Practitioner and Technocrat Expert Writer. Advocating all types of technical professionals. Connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.