Wearable Device can lower collision risk for the blind, visually impaired, supports study

Industry Insights

A wearable computer vision device if used by the blind, those who are visually impaired can help reduce collisions, when compared to other mobility aids used on their own, says a new study. The device can reduce the use of a long cane or use of a guide dog by thirty seven percent. 

In fact, people with visual impairments are subject to significant risk of collisions and falls. For such individuals, commonly used mobility aids such as guide dogs and long canes offer benefit, but, have limitations in terms of cost and effectiveness respectively. 

Meanwhile, some electronic devices for the blind are marketed directly on consumers with claims to warn the wearer of surrounding objects, the evidence of these devices for their effectiveness in every day mobility settings is not much. 

To find an improved solution, the randomized controlled trials to examine the potential benefit of these devices fat home and outside environments is first of its kind. 

The study undertaken by a research team for vision rehabilitation at Mass Eye and Ear was published on July 22, edition of JAMA Ophthalmology. 

“Importantly, for every day needs of blind people, independent travel is essential, but, it carries high risk of bumping into objects when they move on their own,” stated one of the research associates. To help prevent this, many blind people use long canes, still risk of collision are not completely eliminated.

 Thus, the research team sought to develop and examine a device that can improve the everyday mobility aids, and further improve safety. 

To develop the device, the work involved creating the experimental device at the vision rehabilitation lab for the trial, and design of the computer algorithm.

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