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This is how smart glasses will help the visually impaired in UAE

Fri, 10/13/2017 - 10:25 -- geeta.nair

With its 25 features, the glasses will help the visually impaired identify people around them.

People with visual impairments will soon be able to wear smart glasses that will help them read currencies and books, and choose their daily outfits independently.

'Amal' smart glasses, which will be released in the UAE market next month, will enable people with visual impairment to live without assistance and lead independent lives.

Mohammed Islam, CEO of MIH Systems Corporation, which will launch 'Amal' smart glasses, said the project will help the visually impaired identify their environment and allow them to move without collision, while helping them identify people around them.

The glasses will be equipped with GPS that tells them their locations, read out signboards and alerts them of any objects or collisions ahead," said Islam of the glasses that will be launched during AccessAbilities Expo, the region's largest dedicated event for disability and rehabilitation to be hosted in Dubai on November 7-9.

With its 25 features, the glasses will help the visually impaired identify people around them by taking their photographs using the glasses and saving their names. "When they meet again, the glasses will identify the person to the user," said Islam.

Amal glasses is designed to help the visually impaired shop independently through reading out the name of products along with its labels, and detecting different currencies in 94 different languages. It will also assist them in choosing their outfits by pronouncing out the colour of different clothes and objects.

The new device will assist the visually impaired with most tasks as it offers SOS call service, reading warning obstacles, reading English and Arab texts or books and colour recognition of clothes and other objects.

"An alert service will enable them set an alarm clock and a stopwatch service will enable them to set a certain mark while cooking or finishing other chores," said Islam.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), over 285 million people are estimated to be visually impaired worldwide: 39 million are blind and 246 have low vision. "Not only do these glasses help the user function without constant assistance from others, they also increase their employability as they help the user to read text," said Islam.

The research of the project started in 2010 with the idea of creating a robot that can sense obstacles in the environment of the visually impaired. "We decided to then turn these robots into glasses that can serve this segment of society," said Islam, a robotic engineer.

The glasses will cost $1,500 (about Dh5,500) and could be ordered online.

AccessAbilities Expo will be held in November

The smart glasses will be among hundreds of assistive technology items scheduled to be on display at the three-day expo that will bring over 150 exhibitors to facilitate integration of people of determination into society.

More than 50 million people with determination across the Middle East will get an opportunity to explore items like device that cures stuttering within a three hours and BrailleNote touch that maximises traditional braille literacy by reading out texts.

Other assistive technology and robotics will include running prostheses for recreational athletes, folding electric mobility scooters, specially designed cars allowing driving directly from the wheelchair, high-definition silicone, orthotic, mobility devices and power wheelchairs among other products.

The inaugural expo in 2016 received over 6,000 people, including individuals with disabilities, their families, educationists and experts from different sectors. Exhibitors from 41 countries showcased latest products and services at the event.

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