Toyota has entered the wearable technology market, and their first invention could change the world for the blind. The BLAID system is a shoulder-mounted device that uses several cameras to identify objects, signs, and hazards around the wearer, and guides them where they want to go.
Toyota wants their device to fit in with other sight aids, like canes and service dogs, which can help expand a sight-impaired person’s grasp of their environment and increase their mobility in ways dogs and canes cannot. The BLAID is programmed to recognize hundreds of shapes and common signs, like exit, restroom, or other navigation aids, and direct the user toward them using speakers and vibration motors inside the device.
“The way it works now it is an informational device to bridge the gap between a cane or a guide dog, identifying the Starbucks across the way or where the restroom is,” Doug Moore, manager of Partner Robotics at Toyota, told ABC News. “Often the challenge is large open spaces such as an airport or a mall where there isn’t a wall to follow. The device is intended to work in that way to give more information about their environment.”
You can watch the full product video (with a voiceover for sight-impaired viewers) for BLAID here: