A robotic wearable to help the blind recognise objects

University researchers in the US are developing a sensor-based technology to assist visually impaired people navigate around obstacles.
hand-worn robotic device to help the blind

A team of researchers from the University of Nevada and the University of Arkansas are working together to develop a hand-worn robotic device that will help the blind and visually impaired intuitively recognise an object and navigate around it. According to researchers, this technology could contribute significantly to helping people with poor or no eyesight navigate around movable obstacles or pre-locate, pre-sense and grasp an object.

The wearable device will include vision, tactile, force, temperature and audio sensors and actuators to assist the wearer in pre-determining an object. These sensors will enable the wearer to identify the object’s location, shape and size before he or she comes into contact with it.

The project’s lead researcher and assistant professor from the University of Nevada, Yantao Shen explains how his team plans to construct the device:

"We will pre-map the hand, and build a lightweight form-fitting device that attaches to the hand using key locations for cameras and mechanical and electrical sensors. It will be simpler than a glove, and less obtrusive."