CT: Blind people have long relied on sound as a substitution for sight, and some even use echolocation to navigate around objects. But it turns out that sound can be specifically designed to convey visual information. Now, that phenomenon is being used in an attempt to build better navigation aids for blind people.
Researchers from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena have built smart glasses that translate images into sounds that can be intuitively understood without training.
The device, called vOICe (OIC stands for “Oh! I See”), is a pair of dark glasses with an attached camera, connected to a computer. It’s based on an algorithm of the same name developed in 1992 by Dutch engineer Peter Meijer. The system converts pixels in the camera’s video feed into sound, mapping brightness and vertical location to an associated pitch and volume.
A cluster of dark pixels at the bottom of the frame sounds quiet and has a low pitch, while a bright patch at the top would sound loud and high-pitched. The way a sound changes over time is governed by how the image looks when scanned left to right across the frame. Headphones sends the processed sound into the wearer’s ear.
S: NEWSCI – https://goo.gl/yTh7CD (last access: 8 December 2017)
N: – smart (adj): Late Old English smeart “painful, severe, stinging; causing a sharp pain,” related to smeortan. Meaning “executed with force and vigor” is from c. 1300. Meaning “quick, active, clever” is attested from c. 1300, from the notion of “cutting” wit, words, etc., or else “keen in bargaining.” Meaning “trim in attire” first attested 1718, “ascending from the kitchen to the drawing-room c. 1880.”
In reference to devices, the sense of “behaving as though guided by intelligence” (as in smart bomb) first attested 1972. Smarts “good sense, intelligence,” is first recorded 1968 (Middle English had ingeny “intellectual capacity, cleverness.” Smart cookie is from 1948.
– glasses (npl): From glass. Old English glæs “glass; a glass vessel,” from Proto-Germanic *glasam “glass” (source also of Old Saxon glas, Middle Dutch and Dutch glas, German Glas, Old Norse gler “glass, looking glass,” Danish glar), from PIE root *ghel-(2) “to shine,” with derivatives denoting bright colors or materials. The PIE root also is the ancestor of widespread words for gray, blue, green, and yellow, such as Old English glær “amber,” Latin glaesum ‘amber’ (which might be from Germanic), Old Irish glass “green, blue, gray,” Welsh glas “blue.” glasses plural : a device used to correct defects of vision or to protect the eyes that consists typically of a pair of glass or plastic lenses and the frame by which they are held in place — called also eyeglasses, spectacles. “spectacles,” 1660s, from plural of glass (n).
2. Top smart glasses models:
- Google Glass, by Google.
- HoloLens, by Microsoft.
- Epiphany Eyewear, by Vergencia Labs.
- M100, by Vuzix.
- Metapro, by Spaceglasses.
- Moverio BT200, by Epson.
3. Advantages to using smart glasses:
- Virtual assistance: instruction manuals and illustrations make it easier for employees to complete their daily tasks. Employees no longer need to memorize all processes, which at times can be complex.
- Video collaboration: experts in remote company locations can participate in projects thanks to video technology. “Shared videos” enable experts to instruct their colleagues even when off-site. As such, they are a quick and easy way for employees to get expert advice when tackling problems.
- Video streams: inspectors can use video streams to show they have completed an inspection and to verify that everything is in order. This is particularly helpful for service providers required to confirm that their field staff (who work independently and without supervision) have carried out the work as required.
- On-the-job training: Smart glasses can lower your costs and overheads for hands-on instruction and on-site training courses. Gartner analyst Tuong Nguyen calls this “on-the-job training.”
4. Disadvantages to using smart glasses:
- Battery runs down quickly.
- The one-size-fits-all design may be uncomfortable for some people.
- Not feasible for prescription eyewear users — unless they get contact lenses.
- User may run into serious privacy issues/restraints
- Lack of availability overseas.
5. Cultural Interrelation: It may be worth mentioning the 2013’s Emmys edition, where host Neil Patrick Harris made a reference to using smart glasses, saying on the 1:35 mark: “You can now watch TV on your laptop, on your mobile device, on your watch, on your Google Glass (meaning smart glasses)…”
S: 1. OED – https://www.etymonline.com/word/smart; https://www.etymonline.com/word/glass; MW – https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/glass; https://www.etymonline.com/word/glasses (last access: 5 December 2017). 2. (last access: 5 December 2017). 3. NSAP – https://news.sap.com/benefits-smart-glasses/ (last access: 5 December 2017). 4. ESOFT – https://goo.gl/NokdUA (last access: 5 December 2017). 5. YouTube – https://goo.gl/w8AP3z (last access: 5 December 2017).