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When attending CES 2017 in Las Vegas, I’ve visited an interesting company, NextVPU, in the “Wearable” zone in Sands Expo. This company is from Shanghai, China, and they presented their AngelEye smart glasses, for visually impaired people.
I was curious how the glasses can help visually impaired people including the blinds. Alan Feng (Xinpeng), CEO of the company, introduced the product to me briefly. It sounds high-tech, but I think I got the ideas.
The glasses seems like a self-driving system, yes like “auto-pilot” system of Tesla, but it’s for people to wear. It can detect obstacles, and distinguish the path from the “unwalkable” zone, and do bunch of recognitions of the scenes, objects, texts, just like Tesla’s “auto-pilot”. Also there’s a map inside it, so the user can locate themselves easily.
I’ve tried this AngelEye smart glasses, surprisingly this is very light, weights similar with an ordinary sunglasses. This glasses’ appearance looks much better than the HMDs that I’ve ever seen, and better than Snap’s Spectacles. Wearing this glasses, I felt myself cool and empowered with “sixth-sense” :P.
There are two cameras embedded in this glasses, and a pair of bone conduction headphone. After wearing the glasses, I can hear the beeps when facing an obstacle, and the beeps becomes urgent when I’m close to the obstacle, and quiet when facing a walkable path, which seems easy to grasp. It worked well even with a narrow hanging wire, which seems cool. It recognized chairs, people, desk, bottle, monitor correctly. It’s a fun when trying this glasses, and it passed my testing. Surprisingly all of these are done locally, w/o the data connection to a WIFI or 4G network. I don’t know how they managed to squeeze a complex hardware system like “auto-pilot” into a 50-gram smart glasses, but this is really cool.
Alan mentioned he worked as a director of engineering in AMD, worked on CPU designs for many years and Xbox One CPU was one of his projects (Wow), and the team are full of engineers who are professionals in computer vision domain. The “computer vision” technology is to teach the computer to see the world like human do, which is a worldwide challenging & interesting domain, and “auto-pilot” system and this “AngelEye” smart glasses are applications of this technology.
In overall, this AngelEye smart glasses is a really cool product, and could be very helpful to many people. If you are interested in their product or technology, their website is http://en.nextvpu.com/ and here is the website of crowdfunding in indiegogo: https://www.indiegogo.com/project/preview/a2cea1ee. I like the idea to use high-tech to improve people’s living quality, and will watch them closely in the future.