According to the World Health Organization, 287 million people suffer from some form of visual impairment worldwide. Thirty-nine million of them are blind. A Hungarian startup has created the Extended Visual Assistant, which may make the lives of the visually impaired easier to manage.
Extended Visual Assistant (EVA)
A startup based in Budapest, Hungary, with the same name as their product has created the Extended Visual Assistant (EVA). The device aims to make the lives of blind people easier. EVA is essentially a pair of sunglasses with a camera embedded in the front of the frame. A smartphone converts images and text from the sunglasses’ camera into audio, and the wearer receives the audio using bone conduction “headphones.”A smartphone converts images and text from the sunglasses' camera into audio, and the wearer receives the audio using bone conduction 'headphones.'Click To Tweet
The Extended Visual Assistant is designed to help the visually impaired navigate around a city by interpreting signage as it comes into view. The device can also help users read packages, magazine covers, and posters. This can be useful when shopping.
When Will the EVA Become a Reality?
While the device may alleviate the struggle of living with blindness, the startup has not addressed some fundamental issues that render EVA impractical. For instance, a battery life of eight hours may be too limited to be a reliable assistant for the visually impaired.
As EVA identifies and reads signage, the device has a hard time leaving out other written messages that distract like graffiti and stickers.
Despite a proof of concept, the startup does not have a practical prototype. As of now, EVA aims to raise funds by charging businesses to install iBeacons, which would make the business more accessible to EVA users.
Despite what the company has achieved so far, it is still too early to say how helpful EVA will be. Yet, the advancement cannot be ignored. As many have attempted to help the blind see since the advent of modern technology, EVA has taken us one step closer.