You may remember LeVar Burton’s Geordi La Forge character from STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION: blind, but able to see, thanks to some amazing future tech he wore that looked a bit like wraparound sunglasses. We don’t quite have those yet, but science has been creating some amazing gadgets that are helping visually impaired people regain some of their lost vision.
Previously, an unassisted blind person had little more than a cane or a guide dog to help them maneuver around in unfamiliar places. There are now smart glasses available that make the wearer aware when something is close to them. A built-in GPS can also provide the user with other audible directions.
Braille ebook Reader
eReaders have greatly changed the way that people consume books, but the screens would seem to leave little ability for Braille readers to make use of this technology. A digital reader with a tactile screen suitable for Braille has been created, though it has not yet gone into mass release.
Another reader that does not require as much tech, the FingerReader fits on the user’s finger and “reads” print out loud as the person runs their finger over the text. This technology can also be helpful for people interested in learning other languages. However, like the Braille eReader, there is not yet a version you can purchase.
Seeing With Your Mouth
This is a bit more complicated than that heading suggests. You aren’t actually “seeing” while using this device, but it does have a way of providing signals that your brain can use as a guide. The BrainPort V100 has a small video camera mounted on a pair of glasses worn by the user. This data is then sent to an electrode-studded mouthpiece that provides a tingling sensation on the wearer’s tongue that corresponds to the obstacles nearby. Users learn through instruction what each type of tongue tingle means and react accordingly.