For the past two weeks, students from the Carol Center for the Blind have had the opportunity to test out the new Visus Visual Assistant System from Visus Technology. The system uses a Galaxy S4 Android smartphone paired with a bluetooth headset to convey a variety of information that would be useful to the blind. According to this article in the Boston Globe the these are some of the features of the new system, "The Visus program can be trained to identify faces, so a blind person who encounters a friend or colleague won’t have to guess at a name. Instead, he can scan the face with his phone. An electronic voice can announce the person’s name through a wireless Bluetooth earpiece. Another Visus feature lets the user scan a large area with the camera to pinpoint objects containing text, such as signs or bulletin boards. The software can translate the text to speech and read it aloud. The phone also makes it easier for a blind person to find a restroom. It is programmed to recognize the standard symbols indicating a men’s room or women’s room and point them out to the user. The software can even generate a map of the inside of a building. Using software licensed from a defense contractor, Visus can shoot a video as the user is guided through the building."
The company hopes to have the system available for sale early next year for $999. The price will include the phone, bluetooth headset, and a 4G hotspot. The company is also working on developing for the iOS platform. To learn more about the company, visit the <a href= "http://www.visustech.com" Visus Technology website.Source: Go to source
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For the past three years Alena has been a feature writer for the online magazine Matilda Ziegler. She has also been a contractor for the Oregon Commission for the Blind, helping blind adults learn to use adaptive technology. She is studying to be a teacher of the visually impaired at Portland State. You might also recognize her from the Serotalk podcast Triple Click Home.