Professor Stephen Hicks and his colleagues at the University of Oxford, with the help and support of RNIB have develop Star Trek-style ‘Smart Glasses’ which would allow near-blind people to see. The joint project between the University of Oxford and the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has won a £500,000 grant in a Google charity competition.

Geordi La ForgeThe technology enables those suffering from sight loss to see obstacles and faces, similar to the visor worn by Geordi La Forge in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

The smart glasses consist of a video camera mounted on the frame of the glasses; a computer processing unit that is small enough to fit in a pocket; and software that provides images of objects close-by to the see-through displays in the eyepieces of the glasses.

The money will enable RNIB and Oxford University to create 100 pairs of smart glasses and test them with 1,000 people.

This will be the first large-scale test of smart glasses and augmented reality for sight enhancement anywhere in the world. It’s the first step towards getting the glasses made available to everyone who needs them.

“The idea of the smart glasses is to give people with poor vision an aid that boosts their awareness of what’s around them – allowing greater freedom, independence and confidence to get about, and a much improved quality of life,” says Dr Stephen Hicks of the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Oxford, who is leading the development of the glasses.

“The group has been awarded further funding from the Royal Society to look at introducing more features into the glasses, such as face, object or text recognition. An audio prompt via an earphone would give people more information about who or what they are seeing.”

“We eventually want to have a product that will look like a regular pair of glasses and cost no more than a few hundred pounds – about the same as a smart phone,” says Dr Hicks.

Source Daily Mail