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Pocket camera helps the visually impaired navigate the world

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This might be one of the least invasive sight aids for the visually impaired that we've spotted: it's a camera that sits in the shirt pocket, Her-style, and uses auditory alerts to warn when the user approaches obstacles. The idea here is to help folks with loss of peripheral vision (from glaucoma, for example) to keep from bumping into things. The device uses time-to-collision predictions rather than proximity sensors, so rather than a constant beep just because you're standing next to a pillar, the gizmo will apparently only ping you when you might actually run into said pillar.

Scientists from Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Schepens Eye Research Institute tested this with an obstacle course, naturally. Twenty-five people suffering from tunnel vision participated, with the device boosting collision avoidance by some 37 percent. The next step? A clinical trial to see just how handy the gizmo is in everyday life. If you want a peek at how the experiment turned out, there are a pair of videos below.

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