UAE firm reveals smart glasses for the blind

Published: 15 September 2018 - 1:07 p.m.
By: Mark Sutton

Millions of blind and visually-impaired people around the world are set to benefit from a technological advancement with the global launch of smart glasses in the UAE by Amal Glass Company.

The introduction of smart glasses by the company comes after eight years of work by a team of experts and specialists in the fields of research, software and application development, and artificial intelligence.

These efforts were crowned by the introduction of a smart product that enables the blind and visually impaired people go about their daily routines without any assistance and rely on themselves in a number of tasks, the company said in a statement.

Amal are light-weight smart glasses that contain numerous sensors and a pocket-mounted data processing unit that is connected to the glasses by a thin cable. The unit can be controlled by touching the right temple. Artificial intelligence processes and presents the data to visually impaired users in the manner of voice instructions to help them recognise the environment surrounding them.

The smart glasses provide 25 important services needed by the blind and visually impaired people as basic services in their daily and practical lives, such as obstacle warning, people recognition, weather conditions, using remote control devices, colour recognition to choose suitable clothes, currency recognition, holy Qiblah direction and prayer times for Muslims.

It also enables students to record audio lectures, in addition to an audio library, and the ability to read products' barcodes and capture photos in an easy way. Amal smart glasses can read books, newspapers, menus, computer and ATM screens, among others, in several languages, including Arabic and English.

It also provides the service of describing the surrounding environment to enable the visually impaired people identify the things around them, such as cars, streets, furniture, appliances, office environments in addition to the ability to recognise the lighting level in the user's surrounding so as to avoid standing in dangerous unlit places that may expose them to accidents.

Amal smart glasses are also equipped with a GPS system specially developed to help the visually impaired people identify the area and street they are in, and eventually enabling them to easily move while being informed of the remaining distance to reach destination.

The glasses also provides an SOS service and sharing maps and photos of the location of users, in addition to sending "Help-Me" messages to help others identify the location of users and come to their rescue.

For gaming and entertainment purposes, the glasses also include a laser wars game which works in a 3-D acoustic environment.

The company has set up a special online store to enable users to freely download applications for the glasses.

"Amal smart glasses are a new era in the service of the blind and visually impaired people. It will enable blind people to be independent in their private and practical lives, and will help them integrate into work and school environments, among others," said Bandar Saad Al Badna, marketing manager of Amal Glass Company.

"The smart glasses are the result of research and development with the blind themselves by identifying their needs and responding as much as possible to these needs through these glasses which are the product of a competent team that has managed to overcome many obstacles and difficulties to make this work a reality."

The first demo of the glasses was launched at the AccessAbilities Expo 2017 in Dubai where they attracted massive response and widespread appeal.

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