Every now and then we discover a new invention that could literally overnight change millions of peoples’ lives. The idea is simple: build a set of smart glasses that allow dyslexic people to read words. The OTON GLASS has two small cameras and earpieces that capture pictures of words that users want to read and reads out the words for the user in the earpiece. Genius!
The inspiration for the medical device invention is best told by the Japanese inventor himself who states “I was determined to develop OTON GLASS through my father’s dyslexia experience. In 2012, my father had a brain tumor, and developed dyslexia after his operation – catalyst for OTON GLASS. Fortunately, he recovered fully after rehabilitation. However, many people have congenital dyslexia regardless of their symptoms.”
This invention was a national runner-up at the James Dyson Foundation Design Engineering Awards recently. This device has the potential to positively impact 70 million people in the U.S. and Japan alone who have trouble reading words.
Wearable teach have gained mainstream attention with Google Glasses (on the ropes, perhaps!) and lately, Snapchat Glasses, that promise to make the Internet of Things a ubiquitous experience for connected users in the next decade.
For those readers with a more technical slant, the underlying technology relies on Raspberry PI (RPi) as the operating system. One camera detects blinks as a trigger while the other one captures words. The RPi processes these images by OCR and detects the words in the images. The artificial voice technology changes words to sounds, which the user can then understand it’s meaning.
Apparently the team consists of the following: a computer vision and machine learning researcher, hardware engineer, product designer, and a 3D modeller.
“We will repeat developing prototypes and doing user tests in the short-term. This prototype will grow and become a “product”. When we complete and develop a prototype that the user can use, we will do cloud funding and extend this concept. Finally, we will design a service with NPOs and hospitals for the users can get it easily,” said the engineering team.
For most inventors involved in developing wearable tech technology, the challenge is to be relevant to the consumer during all his or her waking hours. This device, without doubt, seems to fulfill thosse objectives but we would love to hear back from our readers and get their thoughts on this creative idea.