Will blind 'see' now? Google Glass is back with new AI software that allows the blind to see digitally

A Dutch start-up and Google have teamed up to develop AI-powered glasses that identify the surroundings of a visually impaired individual and say them out loud

A Dutch start-up has collaborated with Google Glass to create AI-powered spectacles that give the blind and visually impaired people vision.

How do they work?

Using artificial intelligence, the glasses obtain visual information from one's surroundings such as images, belongings, and public transport, and then voices them out loud to the user. For example, it can read out text from books, name friends with facial recognition, and describe surroundings such as train timings and street hazards.

The user can use the glasses to do everything from reading a recipe from a cook book, getting navigation instructions to get to the supermarket, identifying ingredients on the shelves and return home to prepare the dish.

Envision and Google's AI glasses

The smart eyewear, developed by The Hague-based company Envision, is powered by the fastest and most accurate OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software available, and capable of reading text in more than 60 languages written on any type of surface, from food labels to handwriting.

"Envision enables blind and low-vision users worldwide to read documents at work, recognize their friends, find personal belongings at home, and use public transport -- independently on their own," the company said in its press release. Here's a video of the glasses in action:

Envision / YouTube

Google Glass gets a second life?

Envision's software breathes life into the troubled Google Glass, whose failure to resonate with consumers warranted the demise of the product. The company had received widespread criticism for integrating a camera with glasses but now, the same tech is being leveraged to help the blind to visualize the world around them and with the help of Envision's software, serves as a critical, timely need.

Envision and Google's AI glasses

Available for pre-order starting March 9, 2020, Envision's AI-powered smart glasses are available at a reduced price of $1,699, which goes up to $2,099 once they start shipping out in August 2020. There are an estimated 253 million visually impaired people around the world and although the AI-powered glasses are a bit pricey, they can dramatically improve the self-dependence of those who can afford it.

Related topics : Artificial intelligence