Most accidents that occur at home take place in the kitchen. If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve probably managed to set something aflame or slice through a finger. The risk of injury is significantly greater for the blind and sight-impaired. (Just imagine what you’d do to yourself — and your home — if you were to cook blindfolded.) Design student to the rescue: For her final project at Israel’s Hadassah College, Neora Zigler designed a set of tools with tactile cues to help the sight-impaired navigate some of the more common kitchen hazards.
Concept, shmoncept: if your "product" demo is all CGI'd screenshots and foamcore mockups, the Big Idea behind it had better fricking wow us. Well, the idea behind Thimble certainly does — it's a Braille-powered mobile computing interface that uses Bluetooth, optical character recognition, and voice commands to create an always-on, web-connected heads-up display for blind people. (I'm sorry, can you hold? The TED people are calling on Line 2.)
Ben Foss was a bright kid, but as a student, he struggled with
reading even the simplest text. Afflicted with severe dyslexia, he relied on
parents and tutors to read him his homework since the words on the page made
no sense to him. At Stanford, he managed to earn two advanced degrees by
laboriously scanning books and then running them through synthetic speech software
so he could comprehend the words.
Canes and guide dogs are useful for the blind, to be sure, but they're far from perfect. Enter the next generation of guidance for the blind: the Smart Cane, a cane-like device that senses obstacles and provides navigational tools with RFID technology that is similar to what is used by shopkeepers to stop theft.
We've written a lot about touchscreen technology, both existing and near future, but there's an inescapable limitation if you're a user with impaired or zero vision: touchscreens accept your touch, but usually respond solely with visual information. Now Finnish scientists have devised a way to remedy that, and it's a darn clever re-interpretation of Braille.