Smart Glasses May Help the Blind Move Around

December 5, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. aid [eyd] (v.) – to provide assistance or help
Example: Reading glasses aid people with sight problems read with ease.

2. indicate [IN-di-keyt] (v.) – to show or to signal something
Example: The icon on the computer screen indicates that there is a problem in the system.

3. minute [mahy-NOOT, -NYOOT, mi-] (adj.) – very small in size
Example: The hidden camera is so minute that nobody ever notices it.

4. static [STAT-ik] (adj.) – stays in one place; not moving
Example: The computer showed static images instead of videos.

5. overlay [oh-ver-LEY] (v.) – to put one thing on top of another
Example: The sunglasses are overlaid with UV filters.


Read the text below.
A recent project called ‘Assisted Vision’ is developing smart glasses that could hopefully aid blind people move around on their own.

A team headed by Stephen Hicks from the University of Oxford designed the smart glasses. It will be capable of collecting visual information using sensors, which will relay the information back to the user through OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) screens and headphones.

Two cameras embedded in the glasses create the effect of stereoscopic vision, or the ability to see things using both eyes simultaneously, and determine the user’s distance from surrounding objects. The glasses also contain a gyroscope [JAHY-ruh-skohp] that indicates the wearer’s movement, a compass that reveals the user’s direction, and a minute GPS tracker that provides the user’s exact location.

The distance of the objects is indicated by brightness—brighter objects mean they are closer to the user. The cameras, on the other hand, capture images that tell whether the objects are moving or static. Also, gyroscopic information indicates the user’s movement in relation to his or her surroundings.

The user can see all the processed information as it is displayed on a set of transparent OLED screens overlaid on the glasses. Furthermore, smart glasses are equipped with headphones that use text-to-speech software to provide spoken assistance. These headphones work with the GPS to dictate navigation instructions.

The developers have made these smart glasses very accessible as surgery or training is not needed for people to use the product. In addition, affordable USB webcams and Microsoft Kinect make the glasses more inexpensive.  

For now, the team is planning to add more features and make the smart glasses ready for the market.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         If you were blind, would you be willing to purchase a pair of these smart glasses? Why?
·         What do you think are the disadvantages of using the smart glasses?

Discussion B

·         How important do you think is your sense of sight? Explain.
·         How can you take care of your sense of sight?


December 5, 2013