New wearable from Toyota wants to help the blind see

Project 'BRAID' uses a shoulder-mounted set of cameras to assist those with a visual impairment

Japanese car manufacturer Toyota isn't just busy working on new automobiles, it's even investing in a new initiative to assist those suffering from partial or total blindness. That initiative, Project BLAID, aims to replace walking sticks and seeing eye dogs by providing the user with an 'image' of the world around them.

The device is essentially a shoulder mounted band of cameras that detects objects and obstacles around the user and transmits that information to the user via audio prompts and burst of recognisable vibrations. While still very much in the early prototype stages, Toyota is planning to add voice recognition and buttons to the wearable in order to empower them as much as possible.

"Project BLAID is one example of how Toyota is leading the way to the future of mobility, when getting around will be about more than just cars," said Simon Nagata, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, Toyota Motor North America. "We want to extend the freedom of mobility for all, no matter their circumstance, location or ability."

Apparently, the Japanese firm is also running an employee initiative that urges its workers to submit videos of common home-based landmarks to assist the team in programming its cameras to recognise and correctly map the physical world too often obscured or hidden by visual impairments. And while the tech is clearly in a very early stage, we're intrigued to see just how well Project BLAID performs in a real-world test.

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