The EyeRing Personal Assistant: Augmented Reality at Your Fingertips

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Augmented reality devices and applications are starting to come into actual reality, and the latest idea is for a device worn on the finger, capable of conveying information about the world around us with both visual and audio clues. First came Google Glasses, then a hint that Apple is developing video glasses, and now a project from MIT promises to bring augmented reality to the visually impaired with a virtual assistant in a ring.

Augmented reality devices and applications are starting to come into actual reality, and the latest idea is for a device worn on the finger, capable of conveying information about the world around us with both visual and audio clues. First came Google Glasses, then a hint that Apple is developing video glasses, and now a project from MIT promises to bring augmented reality to the visually impaired with a virtual assistant in a ring.

The EyeRing, which includes a tiny camera, a processor, and Bluetooth connectivity to connect to a smartphone, is worn (where else?) on a finger, and can take a photo of an object and then return information about that object to the user using both audio and visual clues.

“EyeRing is a wearable intuitive interface that allows a person to point at an object to see or hear more information about it. We came up with the idea of a micro camera worn as a ring on the index finger with a button on the side, which can be pushed with the thumb to take a picture or a video that is then sent wirelessly to a mobile phone to be analyzed. The user receives information about the object in either auditory or visual form. Future versions of our proposed system may include more sensors to allow non-visual data capture and analysis.” – MIT

According to Technology Review, the researchers have used EyeRing together with a smartphone running Android software, with an iPhone app in the works. Possible future applications of this technology could include using it as a virtual cane for walking, for currency or color detection, or possibly as an assisted reading device for the blind.

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