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Surgeon David Allamby FRCS(Ed), FRCOphth
 David Allamby

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The new smart glasses: you’ve never seen or heard anything like it

Learn more about vision correction

23
Mar
2018

boy struggling to readWe all know that glasses help us read more easily, but did you know there will soon be smart glasses that can read out loud what’s written in front of us on paper?

A new Japanese company called Oton Glass are currently developing a pair of glasses that will be able to convert text into audio. This is set to transform the lives of those who suffer from vision loss or comprehension problems, as they will be able to digest written information far more easily.

raspberry pi

 

How do they work?

Using two cameras and an earpiece, which are both fitted into its frame, the Oton Glass will be able to convert text into sound for its wearer.

  • The first camera tracks the eye movement of the user - by using a mirror for half of the lens, the wearer’s eye reflects to this first camera. That same camera will also detect when the user blinks
  • The second camera is what captures the text in front of the user. The user will look at the information they cannot read, and will start blinking. This acts as a trigger for the glasses to get into gear and start working
  • The words captured by this second camera are sent to a Raspberry Pi cloud system. Yes, the glasses use Raspberry Pi as its computer! This converts the text and translates it into audio, which is then played through the earpiece attached to the glasses

Impressive stuff, right?

What about words the glasses cannot pick up or identify?

Oton Glass really have thought of everything. If these tech glasses are unable to identify particular words or convert them into audio, the images of the text captured by the camera are sent to a remote worker, who will figure out what has been written.

We’ve all heard of smart glasses, so what makes this one different?

Smart glasses are not breaking news anymore, and it’s safe to say the market’s reaction to the products out there so far has been a little underwhelming.

Futurism suggest this might be because be due to cost and overcomplicating the product, With this in mind then, what makes Oton Glass different?

save money piggy bankCost. Smart glasses in the past have been criticised for being particularly steep in price. One of the most attractive aspects of this Japanese kickstarter company’s new pair of tech specs are that you can get your hands on some for just $47.

User-friendly. Whilst Oton Glass has a lot of similarities with Google Translate glasses, they are much easier to use. You don’t need to get out your phone and swipe over text, everything you need to digest text is built in the glasses.

Audience. This Japanese company have targeted a far more specific audience, compared to many other smart glasses, as they focus on not only people that have trouble with their vision, but also people who suffer from conditions such as dyslexia, who find it difficult to read long amounts of text. The lead designer of the glasses Keisuke Shimkage actually began working on these glasses back in 2012 to help his father who had recently developed dyslexia.

Previous smart glasses have been said to have too much built into them, things that the user doesn’t need. By stripping the product back and focussing on a more specific audience, there is a lot of buzz around these new specs.

According to the NHS, a person who has dyslexia may have the following symptoms

  • dyslexiaConfuse the ordering of letters in words
  • Have poor spelling
  • Reads and writes very slowly
  • Writing letters the wrong way round. For example mistaking the letter ‘d’ for ‘b’

One sign of dyslexia that resonates with the Oton Glass in particular is the difficulty people with this disability have when trying to digest and remember information written down in front of them. Information given to them verbally is far easier.

People who suffer from dyslexia severely have a multitude of these symptoms, meaning it can be immensely hard for them to digest written information.

With this in mind, the Oton Glass could not only improve the reputation of smart glasses, but more importantly is set to transform the lives of so many.

happy boy with glasses

Read more for posts on eye health, laser eye surgery, and vision, here

Sources

British Dyslexia Association

By: David
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