Caltech researchers have developed a special augmented reality assistant called CARA (Cognitive Augmented Reality Assistant) that aids the blind via the Microsoft HoloLens to identify the objects around them.
CARA employs the use of computer vision in order to check the objects around the person who is wearing the headset and say their names. The closer the user is to the object, the higher the pitch of the voice will become.
So as not to become overbearing on the user, the researchers have created three different modes for it: the first one, called spotlight mode, will only say the object’s name if the wearer is looking at them. A scan mode on the other hand will name everything the HoloLens camera can see while target mode will allow the user to focus on just one object, if they need to walk somewhere close to it.
CARA has been tested on a few blind volunteers at the Beckman Behavioral Biology building at Caltech and the results, so far, have been quite promising.
Of course, CARA is still in the early stages of development but the team hopes that, as the technology will improve, places like banks, hotels or shopping malls will be able to offer CARA’s services to their blind customers in the future.