Researchers at Penn State are working on a smart glove that can help blind people shop at the grocery store. The idea came because figuring out what items are on the shelves is a major limitation blind people report as wanting to be able to overcome. There are products in existence that can scan bar codes and tell you what’s inside the package, but they depend on the bar code facing the camera or laser used to scan it. The other problem is that these products don’t help you find what you’re looking for, but simply verify that what you’re holding is the right thing.
The glove being developed at Penn State can actually guide the wearer to the exact item being searched for. The device contains a camera and vibration motors within it in different locations. The motors vibrate at different strengths, essentially pointing the user toward the direction it wants the person to go. The camera recognizes objects that are near and can further guide the hand to the destination.
The researchers have conducted initial experiments with blind people using the device and are planning on starting a new trial that will help refine the technology powering the glove and identify new possibilities where it can be applied.
Source: Penn State…