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AI Smart Glasses: Redefining Possibilities for the Visually Impaired

KEY TAKEAWAYS

AI smart glasses have the potential to greatly benefit visually impaired individuals by providing assistance in daily tasks. However, they should not be considered as a replacement for regular glasses or lenses. Manufacturers face challenges in achieving affordability and functionality, and they must address health risks, privacy concerns, and data protection. As the industry progresses, it is crucial to prioritize user well-being and compliance with regulations to ensure the safe and effective use of AI smart glasses.

AI smart glasses are a valuable tool for individuals with low or no vision, as they assist them in various daily activities like moving around, recognizing objects, and accessing notifications. These glasses utilize artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technology to learn about objects and empower visually impaired individuals to accomplish different tasks.

Numerous organizations worldwide are manufacturing these glasses, considering them a significant breakthrough for the visually impaired community. However, there are concerns regarding their practicality, accessibility, and affordability that need to be addressed.

This article explores the role of AI smart glasses in enabling visually impaired people and addresses related issues.

What Are AI Smart Glasses?

AI smart glasses are wearable eyewear devices designed to assist individuals with visual impairments. These glasses utilize artificial AI, ML, and augmented reality (AR) technologies to provide valuable support. They go beyond helping with basic tasks such as navigating rooms, locating objects like books, and recognizing text for reading.

These offer an enhanced AI experience, enabling users to perform advanced functions. For instance, users can use voice commands to search for restaurants within a specific area. The smart glasses not only generate a list of restaurants but also provide additional information such as reviews, menus, and prices for food items.

How Do AI Smart Glasses Work?

The device has multiple components and features that enable it to operate.

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  • Display

The display component of AI smart glasses is responsible for presenting virtual images and information to the user. This component allows users to visualize and interact with the augmented reality (AR) content provided by the glasses.

  • Sensors

Sensors play a crucial role in AI smart glasses by enabling them to perceive and understand the surrounding environment. Depending on the specific brand and model, these glasses may include various sensors such as cameras, microphones, gyroscopes, and accelerometers.

  • Camera and smart vision

The camera component of AI smart glasses plays a vital role in capturing images of the user’s surroundings. These images are then processed using AI, ML, and AR technologies to provide valuable insights and information to the user. By analyzing the visual data, the smart glasses can interpret the images and extract relevant details, such as object recognition, text extraction, and scene understanding.

  • Information overlay

The information overlay feature of AI smart glasses is responsible for providing valuable information to the user in a convenient and intuitive manner. It allows the glasses to present relevant data and details directly within the user’s field of view.

For example, when the user enters a library and wants to purchase a book, the smart glasses can scan the books based on genre and title. They then provide the user with reviews and a short description of the book. The user can simply pass a voice command that the AI system understands and acts upon.

  • Voice commands

Imagine the user walking down the street, searching for a good Pizza joint among the numerous options available. In this scenario, the user can simply issue a voice command to the AI smart glasses, requesting to find a pizza store with a rating of at least 4 out of 5 and menus featuring Cheese Pizzas.

The AI smart glasses understand and accept the voice command, leveraging their capabilities to extract the most relevant information. They then provide the user with the best available details, ensuring they receive accurate recommendations based on their preferences.

  • Connectivity

AI smart glasses are designed to connect to wireless networks or utilize mobile data, allowing them to function as smart devices. This connectivity enables the glasses to access the internet and retrieve information for the knowledgeable user, whether through voice commands or other means.

  • Personalization

With AI and ML at its core, the smart glass has the capability to learn from the user’s behavior, preferences, and specific requirements. This allows the glasses to provide personalized recommendations and information, similar to a recommendation engine.

Can AI Smart Slasses Replace Regular Glasses And Lenses?

The fundamental differences between AI smart glasses and regular glasses or lenses prescribed by doctors should be emphasized.

Firstly, AI smart glasses are not designed to maintain or correct vision like regular glasses or lenses. Their purpose is to assist visually impaired individuals in performing specific tasks using AI and ML technologies. It is important to understand that these are not intended to replace regular glasses or lenses but rather to provide additional support.

Secondly, unlike regular glasses or lenses, AI smart glasses can typically be purchased without a prescription. However, it is advisable to seek the guidance and advice of a healthcare professional, such as an eye doctor, before incorporating the device into one’s routine.

Consulting with a doctor ensures that the individual’s specific needs and concerns are addressed and that the use of AI smart glasses does not adversely affect their vision or overall eye health.

Health Side Effects

Unlike regular glasses or lenses that aim to correct vision, AI smart glasses can cause vision and mental fatigue, and eye strain due to prolonged proximity to internet-enabled sensors. The blue light emitted from the device can cause insomnia and other sleep-related issues that can lead to other medical conditions. Too much dependence on smart glasses can reduce human capabilities of situational awareness and lesser use of the senses.

It is important to consider the potential health side effects associated with AI smart glasses compared to regular glasses or lenses. Unlike traditional vision correction devices, their prolonged use can lead to certain issues. Some of the side effects may include:

  • Vision and mental fatigue;
  • Eye strain;
  • Disruption of sleep patterns, insomnia.

Overreliance on AI smart glasses may also result in reduced human capabilities in terms of situational awareness. Relying heavily on the device can diminish the use of other senses and limit one’s ability to perceive and respond to the environment.

Production Challenges

The development of AI smart glasses presents several challenges for manufacturers, despite the potential benefits they offer to the visually impaired. The industry is still in its early stages and must address these challenges to achieve widespread production and affordability.

One major obstacle is the complex nature of the required components. Designing glasses that are comfortable to wear all day while incorporating the necessary functionalities poses a significant challenge. These functionalities include cameras for location tracking and eye movement monitoring, displays large enough to overlay the user’s entire field of view, powerful processors to drive the displays, computer vision AI for object identification, and efficient power supply systems.

Manufacturers are striving to strike a balance between affordability and functionality. Without reaching mass production levels, it would be difficult for the idea of AI smart glasses to become financially viable.

However, a few companies have made progress in this area, offering high-quality devices at a more affordable cost. Examples of such companies include:

The Bottom Line

AI smart glasses are a valuable offering for individuals with visual impairments, but it is important to note that they cannot replace regular glasses or lenses. The industry is still in its early stages, with a few manufacturers attempting to produce the device for the mass market.

However, the challenge lies in balancing production costs with the objective of making these glasses affordable without compromising quality.

As AI smart glasses become more widespread, there will be a critical analysis of their potential health risks, privacy concerns, and data confidentiality. Being smart devices, they consume a significant amount of user data, which raises important considerations. It is essential for the makers of smart glasses to proactively address these aspects and ensure the protection of user privacy and data.

Smart devices that rely on data collection are subject to numerous laws and regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe. Compliance with these regulations is crucial, and manufacturers must adhere to the necessary legal and ethical frameworks to protect user rights and maintain data security.

Taking these factors into account is vital as the industry progresses, ensuring that AI smart glasses deliver their intended benefits while upholding privacy, security, and compliance with relevant regulations.

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Kaushik Pal

Kaushik is a technical architect and software consultant with over 23 years of experience in software analysis, development, architecture, design, testing and training. He has an interest in new technologies and areas of innovation. He focuses on web architecture, web technologies, Java/J2EE, open source software, WebRTC, big data and semantic technologies. He has demonstrated expertise in requirements analysis, architectural design and implementation, technical use cases and software development. His experience has covered various industries such as insurance, banking, airlines, shipping, document management and product development, etc. He has worked on a wide range of technologies ranging from large scale (IBM…