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Apple patents handheld gadget to help hearing- and sight-impaired people get around

A newly published patent suggests Apple is thinking of new tech to help the disabled—in this case a handheld sensory-assist device. A hearing- or sight-impaired person would hold the tube-shaped device in their hand while moving around. The device’s sensors would detect objects (like stop signs) or sounds (sirens, perhaps) that the user can’t see/hear … Continue reading “Apple patents handheld gadget to help hearing- and sight-impaired people get around”

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A newly published patent suggests Apple is thinking of new tech to help the disabled—in this case a handheld sensory-assist device. A hearing- or sight-impaired person would hold the tube-shaped device in their hand while moving around. The device’s sensors would detect objects (like stop signs) or sounds (sirens, perhaps) that the user can’t see/hear but need to be aware of. The device would vibrate the user’s hand in specific places to alert them. 
Apple and other tech companies patent virtually everything they work on, so this patent doesn’t necessarily point to some future Apple product. It does show that Apple engineers are investing time in envisioning new assistive technologies.
In recent years, Apple has been investing more time in developing apps and features that help the disabled. The most recent example was the announcement at Apple’s development conference last year that it would add a new wheelchair workout to the exercise menu on the Apple Watch.

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About the author

Fast Company Senior Writer Mark Sullivan covers emerging technology, politics, artificial intelligence, large tech companies, and misinformation. An award-winning San Francisco-based journalist, Sullivan's work has appeared in Wired, Al Jazeera, CNN, ABC News, CNET, and many others.

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