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Good news for those with low or no vision

Wed, 08/18/2021 - 11:58 -- geeta.nair

Wearing a pair of Smart Vision Spectacles (SVS) fitted with AI (Artificial Intelligence) features will now help individuals with visual impairments move around with more confidence and also listen to texts in English and 73 Indian regional languages.

The device was introduced at Aravind Eye Hospital (AEH) and is claimed to be the first of its kind launched in the country for the visually impaired. “It will enable them to use it beneficially for their education and also empower them in their daily lives, where mobility is impeded,” Dr P Vijayalakshmi, Chief Paediatric Ophthalmologist and Head of Vision Rehabilitation Centre told The Hindu.

The device is like any normal wearable eyeglasses but fitted with two pen drive like gadgets on the arms that rest on the ears. The left pen drive has a camera with a flash that captures images within two metres of the face, identifies objects and warns of the obstacles in front and around, in order to make walking unobstructive.

The tool also stores images and details of people known to the wearer and recognises and identifies the name and details, if the person comes in the line of vision. It also reads out texts by pressing the control buttons formatted in Braille on the frame.

Manufactured by Bengaluru-based software company Smart Global Technology in collaboration with Boston-based NGO, Vision Aid, the prototype was tried with 50 patients at AEH over the last 10 months. The trials and feedback were meticulously run by vision rehabilitationist Flora Jeyaseeli. “Patients were able to tell us exactly what they wanted and it helped to tweak the model to optimum weight, size, shape and use,” Dr.Vijayalakshmi said.

According to her, smart eyewears are available abroad but at a prohibitive cost, from ₹ 4 lakh to ₹ 8 lakh. “The SVS here costs ₹ 22,000 and reads in English in Indian accent for easy understanding,” she added.

The Rotary Club (Chennai-East) has sponsored the first batch of 300 SVS.

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