These college students could be onto something big.
Five students from China have developed a smart helmet that could aid the visually impaired in their everyday activities.
Called the “Eye See”, the laser-equipped helmet is capable of detecting obstacles, as well as identifying text and describing people you meet.
The helmet is equipped with a camera and laser radar, which allows it to detect obstacles within a distance of about 10 feet (3 meters), and will emit a warning sound when the wearer gets too close to a barrier.
The radar, similar to the ones we see on self-driving cars, is capable of performing a 360 degree, omni-directional scan.
With its camera, the helmet can even identify text on signs and books in front of the wearer, and read it out.
The developers even claim the onboard AI is able to provide basic descriptions of people, by image recognition. In a demo video, the helmet guesses the age of someone facing it, and notes the colour of the clothes he’s wearing.
Check it out:
There have previously been helmets designed for visually impaired people, notably one called Sonic Eye, which aims to let users track their surroundings using echolocation to determine how far or near they are from a subject.
With its text and image recognition software however, this student-developed helmet appears to go several steps further.
The developers, who come from the City College of Kunming University of Science and Technology, say they hope the helmet will enable the blind to go about their everyday life more easily.
“We hope that through the helmet, they will be able to go out, socialise and do things that [sighted] people do on a daily basis,” said Wang Wancen, one of the five students.
The People’s Daily reports that the team has already received 17 patents for the helmet, and are looking to mass produce it in future.