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John Coxon

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Robotics May Help Visually Impaired People

March 12th, 2016

Technology companies around the world are working on the creation of algorithms that enable artificial intelligence 'deep learning' to form perceptions of images and video.

This technology has potential to help those that are visually impaired. By identifying elements of an image or video and converting that understanding to spoken text or outputting as Braille, those with impaired sight will be able to 'visualise' what is on a screen.

It is likely the technology will work in reverse, in time. It is expected that evenually the visually impaired will be able verbalise what it is they want to view, the algorithm will then locate images and video that match the requirements, display them and describe them. This is an important development as increasingly only content becomes visual, rather than text-based.

These are critical developments in helping those with a disability to engage with technology, to use technology to engage with others and to live a comfortable life with minimum isolation.

This has implications for disability providers. Firstly they need to understand the emerging technologies and the benefits they bring to users. Eventually consumers will start to demand access to the technology. Also think about this in terms of your own service delivery. How much of your online content is visually based? How do you tag the information, how do you describe it? How will you make it easy for future algoriths to locate your content?

Image copyright Silicon Republic.