Thursday, July 14, 2011

CATRA - Smartphone Accessory That Detects Cataract

woman using catra accessory with a smart phone.

CATRA is a highly portable, and easy to use accessory that attaches itself to a smart phone and easily detects cataract. Made from off the shelf components, and consisting of no moving parts, CATRA, developed by Ramesh Raskar's team at MIT, is being considered to be ideal for the developing world.

The user is made to look through the accessory and press a few buttons. Doing so allows the app to collect quantifiable data and create an attenuation map, which in turn helps detect cataracts.

Watch this (technical) video to know more about CATRA.

Note: Although the price of the accessory is not mentioned anywhere, the same team designed a similar accessory called NETRA for eye exams which costs $1.

For more technical details, and to read the paper, hit the source link.
Source: MIT

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Bionic Glasses For People With Low Vision

image of a person wearing bionic glasses.

Scientists at the Department of Clinical Neurology at Oxford University are working on a prototype that would help people who have very little or blurry vision in their eyes look for things around them,  and find directions and signposts.

The glasses that would look like a normal pair of glasses, would use technology that is readily available in cell phones and video game equipment like video cameras, face recognition and tracking, depth sensors etc. The glasses would have cameras fitted at the corners which would "look" at the object that's in front of the wearer, and tiny led lights embedded in the glasses would transmit extra information about the object (see image above). The lights in the glasses are driven by a "smartphone like computer" that would be in the wearer's pocket. The glasses would look discrete, thus allowing eye contact and encouraging social interaction. These glasses may also have barcode scanners and price tag readers built into them - features that are common in today's smart phones. The glasses may cost around $800.

As I mentioned earlier, these glasses are still at very inititial stages. However, the good news is that the group has funding from the National Institute of Health Research to do a feasibility study. They plan to test the glasses on a few people later this year.

Source: via Engadget

Monday, July 4, 2011

Wi-GO: Kinect Powered Shopping Cart

Since the launch of Kinect, hackers from everywhere have been using it to not play video games, but use it in experiments that benefit mankind in one way or the other. One of the hacks have been the Kinect driven lounge chair. Recently, Luis de Matos created a shopping cart that, if ever launched as a product, will be a huge blessing for people with disabilities (especially for those in wheelchairs), elderly people and pregnant women who cannot carry heavy items. In this project the shopping cart is connected to a Kinect which in turn is connected to a laptop. The cart stays behind the shopper and follows them as and when they move, and stops at a safe distance when the shopper stops to look at an item and/ or to put that item in the cart. The idea behind this cart is to provide comfort and allow people with physical disabilities to shop easily, thus improving their quality of life.

Watch the following video for a quick demo of this project.

Source: Kinect Hacks via Engadget