Using computer vision and electronic components usually found in mobile phones, the researchers have developed a prototype that can prevent people with severe sight loss from walking into obstacles.

"The idea is to give people with poor vision greater independence and confidence and an improved quality of life," Stephen Hicks from Oxford University was quoted as saying.

The prototype glass tested at Oxford allowed one participant to see her guide dog for the first time. This is how it works. The ‘smart’ glasses work by combining information relayed by an infra-red beam and normal video camera.

A small computer then processes the data before it is projected onto the lenses in the form of line drawings, with closer objects appearing brighter.

Despite the bulky prototype, the technology is advancing so rapidly that researchers hope the final product will be no bigger than chunky sunglasses.

They also want to add an earpiece which will scan the image and pass on detail such as bus numbers by reading out loud, says a report.


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