While this may not be the first concept design claiming to help the blind see, it is by far the most visionary -- excuse our pun. Designed by Xu Guang-suo, the Navigation Glasses for the blind help sight-impaired people visualize their surroundings through sound.
The sleek concept would utilize built-in sensors to alert the wearer to nearby objects, whether they're in front, behind or beside the wearer. Using a separate earpiece with an attached microphone that extends across the face, the user would directly communicate with the device and is guided through auditory feedback.
As seen on Yanko Design, the Navigation Glasses could provide a larger, 360-degree reach than a walking stick, which only alerts the visually impaired user to elements immediately in front of them.
Although the wearer would receive "accurate realtime feedback" from the headset, it's not quite clear what type of feedback this entails. Ubergizmo predicts that the user can ask navigational questions that could not be easily answered by sound feedback, such as "Is the light green?" We're partial to agree since translation and understanding of traffic signs and signals appear to be missing from the sight-to-sound design.
Guang-suo's design follows a long line of concepts that reportedly offer visualization through sound. A software program called the vOICe, available as an Android app, pulls footage from a live camera mounted on a pair of glasses and translates the images into sounds. This sensory substitution produces artificial vision meant to vastly improve the quality of life of the sight-impaired user.
Other efforts to assist the blind include navigation glasses that translate a person's surroundings into a 3D braille map.
Check out the gallery below to see the more images of the Navigation Glasses for the blind.