London: Oxford University researchers, who have been inspired by the technology in Xbox Kinect games consoles and iPads, are developing ‘cheap’, ‘smart spectacles’ which promises to change the lives of thousands of blind people by allowing them to ‘see’.
The spectacles use tiny cameras and a pocket computer to alert wearers to objects and people ahead, reports the Daily Mail.
They will make it easier for the blind to navigate shopping centres and busy train stations, and could even allow them to ‘read’ bus numbers and the computerised displays on cash machines.
Elderly people with age-related macular degeneration are likely to be the biggest beneficiaries of the glasses, which could be ready for general sale as early as 2014 if tests are successful.
Importantly, a price tag of less than 1,000 pounds should make them affordable, the Royal Society’s Summer Science Exhibition heard.
Dr Stephen Hicks, a clinical neuroscience researcher who is being funded by the Department of Health, said: “It is satisfying to think that we will be able to produce this at a cost that is going make it available to the people who will benefit the most.”
However, the bionic spectacles rely on the wearer being able to perceive light, so will not be suitable for those who are totally blind.