It is sometimes easy to forget that Toyota is more than just an automobile company. They’ve got fingers in a lot of pies, including robotics, spacecraft, biotech, and even medical wearables. That’s how we’ve come to the point of Project Blaid, a shoulder-worn device that has been designed to help the blind better cope with day-to-day life.
That’s because the Blaid, as it is known, incorporates cameras, microphones and speakers as well as the ability to detect and recognise surroundings. The Blaid will be able to recognise signs and features like doorways and will be able to offer navigational prompts, either through haptic feedback on the Blaid itself or by issuing instructions. Blind users will be able to use button or voice commands to control the Blaid.
Toyota says that there are other features planned. Facial and object recognition as well as mapping functions are on the cards. It might be a plan to stick Google’s Project Tango into Project Blaid, as it could possibly help blind users avoid just about any obstacle in real-time. Just saying.
Toyota haven’t made a launch date for the tech known, nor have they commented on eventual costs. Nonetheless, it’s a very cool take on wearable tech that has utility beyond tracking how far it is from your couch to your car and back on a late-night drive-thru run. Happily, a beta test is in the works soon.