Toyota developing wearable device for the blind, visually impaired

Toyota announced the initiation of Project BLAID under which the company is developing a wearable device for the blind and visually impaired "that will help them do more with greater freedom, independence and confidence." According to Toyota, the device will help "fill the gaps left by canes, dogs and basic GPS devices by providing users with more information about their surroundings."

Specifically, the device will be worn around the user's shoulders to help better navigate indoor spaces, "by helping them identify everyday features, including restrooms, escalators, stairs and doors," Toyota said. The product will feature cameras that detect the user's surroundings and communicate information to the wearer via speakers and vibration motors. Meanwhile, the user will be able to interact with the device through voice recognition and buttons. Toyota added that it plans to "eventually integrate mapping, object identification and facial recognition technologies."

Doug Moore, a manager of Partner Robotics at Toyota, said "we believe this project has the potential to enrich the lives of people who are blind and visually impaired."

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