A team of researchers from the University of Nevada, Reno and the University of Arkansas, Little Rock announced on Thursday that they are developing a robotic wearable which will enable the visually impaired to "see" what they're reaching for.
"We will pre-map the hand, and build a lightweight form-fitting device that attaches to the hand using key locations for cameras and mechanical and electrical sensors," Yantao Shen, assistant professor and lead researcher on the project from the University of Nevada, Reno's College of Engineering, said in a statement. "It will be simpler than a glove, and less obtrusive." The device will combine tactile and temperature sensors, high resolution cameras and miniaturized microphones to sense items around it. This information -- the item's location, size and shape -- is then relayed to the user via haptic and audio feedback.
"Not only will this device help blind and visually impaired people, the methods and technology we develop will have great potential in advancing small and wearable robot autonomy," Shen added. The technology is still in development and there is no word on when it will actually be made available to the public.