To many people, augmented reality (AR) is still a science fiction-like concept; Something they´ve seen in the movies. Objects seemingly conjured out of thin air, while overlapping and interacting with the reality that is recognized by a portable device’s camera or GPS-system. Google’s wearable augmented reality glasses can be used for instant navigation, while some smartphone apps could be of great importance while fighting crime. What would superheroes use? Today: Daredevil.
Daredevil would have liked this app: “SightFinder,” an application meant to assist the visually impaired, currently being developed by Japanese company NTT. Its image and sound recognition technology is cloud-based, meaning SightFinder sends streaming images from a camera to one of NTT’s data centers to recognize and identify street signs or potential obstacles. Using GPS and Bluetooth, the technology will then send real time alerts, warnings, and directions to the user’s smartphone. It’s pretty much a guide dog and a white cane in one.
Since GPS does not work indoors, another Japanese company (NICT ) decided to create a technology that helps the blind to navigate while inside the house. This support system makes use of the the ability of impulse radio (ultra wide band) to measure distances. How it works: a few base stations are positioned across an indoor area, while the user and the PC function as mobile stations.
The base stations measure distance between all mobile stations whereas the control PC calculates and gives the positioning data in real time. This data is then sent to the user’s mobile via Bluetooth. Then the user receives audio instructions for directions to the destination.