Cyber Eyez #
The Cyber Eyez project started in the fall of 2013 as an idea. I was an early adopter of Google Glass, but saw them in a different light. While everyone else was focusing on health, fitness and the head's up display I saw the device as a forward facing, real-time, internet connected camera with a physical feedback mechanism through bone induction. Thinking about wearable tech from the perspective of what it can do instead of what it currently does (the hacker's ethos) opened a broad world of possibilities.
I approached the Kentucky Council of the Blind and demonstrated the capabilities of Google Glass to the Director, who is nearly blind herself. When we began to brainstorm what we could do to assist visually impaired users the ideas began to flow like a river.
The ##goals for Kentucky Council of the Blind## included:
- Restore Mobility
- Increase Employability
- Provide Independence
By utilizing wearable tech and the inherent capabilities therein, we felt like we could meet those goals by enabling users to ##take a picture of a piece of paper or screen and read it back to them## in the device. Working through the idea, we identified several key functions and features.
- Use Chimes to let the user know when the image is in frame and in focus.
- Take a picture of the document/screen.
- Submit the picture to an online optical character recognition engine.
- Use text-to-speech to "read" the text back to the user.
Providing these functions help meet the goals of the Kentucky Council for the blind such that:
Users can "read" the bus routes, train names, street signs and other navigational aids to get around on their own.
Employ blind users as data entry operators by enabling them to work as typists and transcriptionists.
Giving users the ability to get to work and have a job gives them a stronger sense of independence.