Today’s 360 VR Buzz: Caltech Scientists Use AR To Help The Blind Navigate

This was a very interesting BUZZ that I found today and wanted to share with you.

Originally posted on: https://vrscout.com/news

According to the World Health Organization, it is estimated that approximately 1.3 billion people around the globe live with some form of vision impairment.

217 million of those people having moderate to severe vision impairment, while 36 million people fall under the category of being legally blind.

A recently published report entitled ‘Augmented Reality Powers a Cognitive Assistant for the Blind’ details the work from three Caltech scientists

who are delving into the idea of using AR as a way to aid the blind in navigating new and unfamiliar locations through computer vision algorithms that allow objects in the real-world to “announce themselves” to the user as they enter a room.

Consisting of Markus Meister, Yang Liu, and USC postdoctoral scholar Noelle Stiles (PhD ’16),

the team used the Microsoft HoloLens’s capability to create a digital mesh over a “scene” of the real world.

Using unique software called Cognitive Augmented Reality Assistant (CARA), they were able to convert information into audio messages, giving each object a “voice” that you would hear while wearing the headset.

Through CARA, the HoloLens would detect objects in your surroundings and then use spatialized sound to inform you of what the object is by having them call out to you.

If the object is at the left, the voice will come from the left side of the AR headset, while any object on the right will speak out to you from the right side of the headset.

The pitch of the voice will change depending on how far you are from the object; the closer the object, the higher the pitch.

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