Toyota Motors, a company associated with automobiles, recently introduced a concept for a piece of wearable technology that could help the visually impaired better navigate the world around them.
Called ‘Project Blaid’, the mobility device would sit atop a wearer's shoulders and use cameras to sense the layout of indoor spaces. Wearers would be able to ask the device about objects and areas in a room, the company said. The wearable tech would guide them using speakers or vibrations for prompts.
In future, Toyota hopes to upgrade Project Blaid with mapping and facial-recognition technologies. The company also has been working on object identification and has gathered videos of common landmarks in order to help Project Blaid learn to identify unique structures and features.
Toyota has been collaborating with the blind and visually impaired community for more than four years in an effort to ensure that its work reflects diverse perspectives. "Our ultimate goal with this project is to develop a wearable device that helps people who are blind and visually impaired do more," said a Toyota representative. "However, it's an ongoing project that is still very much in development, so we are not releasing dates yet about the beta or market launch."
The effort behind the wearable tech was inspired by the company's resolve to push the "freedom of mobility to everyone," he added.