It might sound like a science fiction novel, but recent advancements in optical wear has brought the possibility of the blind being able to see again out of the realms of fantasy. Newly designed 'smart glasses' from a joint venture of Oxford University and the Royal National Institute of Blind People bring the advent of re-enabling sight that little bit closer.
The smart glasses have now had further recognition, having been shortlisted for the Google Impact Challenge for 2014. The organisation focuses on the idea of 'using technology to tackle problems and transform lives around the world.' Open to UK based nonprofit projects, the GIC will be presented with 10 candidates to win this year, and the RNIB/Oxford University glasses are amongst them. Judges for the prestigious award include the found of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales and Peter Jones CBE of Dragons Den fame.
So what can these glasses actually achieve? RNIB's managing director described the possibilities as being able 'to transform the way blind and partially sighted people can go about their everyday lives.' One such user of the smart wear confirmed her delight at being able to see the outline of her guide dog for the very first time. The aim of the glasses is to enhance images of nearby objects, including people, giving a clearer view of that persons surroundings.
As well as the prestige of winning such an award, the other huge benefit would be that it would enable the production of 100 pairs of smart glasses, giving the group the chance to gather data via the use of them by 1000 people.