10 Amazing Gadgets for the Blind


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The loss of earthly sight is truly a tragedy.  For every hardship and weakness, however, there is a group of inventors working to make life easier, better.  Technology has given the blind new and creative tools with which to explore and experience this world– from braille cameras to trans-sensory devices and watches that display time by touch.  Here are ten of the greatest, most recent advancements in technology for the visually impaired.

 

 

 

Sentio Digital Tactile Watch

sentio digital tactile watch msp Benevolent Tech: 10 Amazing Gadgets for the Blind
With its hard angles and red-on-silver frame, Sentio Digital’s Tactile Watch is visually stunning, but it’s really meant to be felt. The watch face resembles a standard digital display, except the numbers are articulated with raised metal pieces. It beats those tacky LED numbers hands-down.

Braille E-Book Concept

brailleebook Benevolent Tech: 10 Amazing Gadgets for the Blind
Electroactive polymers are the basis for the Braille E-Book concept, whose display raises up to provide tactile feedback. Audiobooks shouldn’t be the only solution for blind e-reader users, you know.

Braille Polaroid Camera

braille1 Benevolent Tech: 10 Amazing Gadgets for the Blind
Polaroid may have gone the way of the Dodo for the visually capable, but the blind can still use this once-proud technology. The Braille Polaroid Camera works just as you’d expect, by printing out an image of textures instead of colors. Being able to feel a memory is arguably much cooler, anyway.

Hello Haptic Flash Cards

hellohaptic 2 Benevolent Tech: 10 Amazing Gadgets for the Blind
Children who were born blind might hear about textures like wood grain and sand, but they might not understand without actually feeling the material in question. Samsung Design Membership’s Hello Haptic flash cards contain the material on one side, and a braille description of it on the other. It’s more fun than studying vocabulary, at least.

B-Touch Braille Mobile Phone Concept

B Touch Braille Mobile Phone Concept 6 Benevolent Tech: 10 Amazing Gadgets for the Blind
Touch screen smartphones are blowing up in popularity, but their very nature leaves out blind users. The B-Touch concept solves this with a combination of  braille touch screen technology — not unlike the e-reader above — and audio feedback. While the former is a bit pie-in-the-sky when it comes to affordability, audio guides are already available on computers, so that idea isn’t too far off from reality.

Bell Mug for the Blind

bell mug4 Benevolent Tech: 10 Amazing Gadgets for the Blind
Pouring a drink must be incredibly stressful if you’re blind. You either need a really good ear for the sound of liquid filling the cup, or you’d have to feel for when glass is full, which is not ideal for hot drinks. The Bell Mug for the blind includes sensors on the inside of the cup, and buttons on the handle for selecting the desired water level. A speaker then announces when the liquid has reached that level, ensuring a perfect pour every time.

Object-Sensing Wand

wand for blind2 Benevolent Tech: 10 Amazing Gadgets for the Blind
The traditional cane used by the blind to safely move around is not always ideal, especially in enclosed environments. The Object-Sensing Wand uses the same principal, but in a smaller gadget with a distance sensor. An alert sounds when an obstacle is in the way. No disrespect to seeing-eye dogs, either, but this is way cooler.

TouchColor Tablet and Ring

touchcolor Benevolent Tech: 10 Amazing Gadgets for the Blind
One of the quirkier gadgets on this list, the TouchColor lets the blind visualize colors by translating them into heat. A ring-shaped object can be used to select a color or scan one in based on the surrounding environment, and the user can then “paint” with that color on a thermal art board. I’d love to see what some of these works would look like translated into a visual painting.

Bright-F Color Scanner

brightf Benevolent Tech: 10 Amazing Gadgets for the Blind
While the TouchColor is artistic, the Bright-F Color Scanner is practical. The handheld object scans items, such as clothing, and reads back their color, allowing the user to easily sort laundry or pick a matching outfit. Because being blind is no reason not to be stylish.

BrainPort Tongue Imaging

brainport Benevolent Tech: 10 Amazing Gadgets for the Blind
The BrainPort is the strangest gadget for the blind of them all, translating visual images into electrical impulses, sent to a plate that rests on the tongue. In other words, you’re actually seeing the world around you with your mouth. Early tests show that people are able to read large writing and understand what’s around them. And unlike some of the things on this list, the BrainPort is no concept; pending FDA approval, it could be available next year for $10,000.

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