A car device helps people with visual impairments sense the scenery outside car windows.
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Technology and innovation have done an incredible job in unlocking the world for the blind and bringing it to life. For example, the invention of a new typeface for people with visual impairments, called ELIA Frames. This intuitive system is based on the Roman alphabet and aims to help the visually impaired to read. Another innovation is the invention of Haptic VR gloves that allow the blind to experience art. This creation is part of a campaign by The National Gallery of Prague which aims to make art more accessible. Ford also seeks to create a new experience with a device which allows the blind to sense the passing scenery as they travel by car.
Ford partnered with a startup that specializes in devices for the visually impaired, Aedo. Together, they have developed what is known as ‘Feel the View.’ The smart car window allows the visually impaired to experience views from the car window via touch. The instrument works by taking pictures of the scenery and converting these into high-contrast monochrome images. LEDs then reproduce these images on the window pane. Each different shade of grey vibrates at a different intensity – out of a range of 255 intensities. These intricate vibrations mean that the blind can visualize images through touch. In addition to this, there is an audio device which provides running commentary and descriptions of the landscape. The device is currently in prototype form.
The spokesperson for Ford Italy, Marco Alù Saffi, has said that: “We seek to make people’s lives better and this was a fantastic opportunity to help blind passengers experience a great aspect of driving. The technology is advanced, but the concept is simple – and could turn mundane journeys into truly memorable ones”. How else could we expand and develop this technology to bring other aspects of the world to life?