Envision Smart Glasses image

Envision, a global assistive technology firm, has revealed a raft of advanced features for its acclaimed AI-powered Smart Glasses for blind and visually impaired individuals.

Available globally, new Envision Glasses features include greater Optical Character Recognition (OCR); improved text reading with contextual intelligence; the addition of new languages; and the creation of a third-party app ecosystem allowing the easy integration of specialist services, such as indoor and outdoor navigation, to the Envision platform.

Developed on the Enterprise Edition of Google Glass, Envision made its debut at the 2020 CSUN Conference and is now changing the lives of hundreds of blind and visually impaired people worldwide, according to the specialist.

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The glasses use artificial intelligence (AI) to extract different kinds of information from images and then speaks the images out loud, enabling blind and low-vision users to read documents at work, recognise their friends, find personal belongings at home, use public transportation, and generally enjoy greater freedom, independence and understanding of the world around them.

“Our mission is to improve the lives of the world’s two billion people who are blind or visually impaired by providing them with life-changing assistive technologies, products and services,” said Karthik Kannan, Co-Founder of Envision. “By analysing real time user data and direct feedback from across our communities, we are able to constantly enrich the Envision experience and innovate our products, most recently with the addition of our new capture and context features.

“Everyone is entitled to live in a world without boundaries and are thrilled to make Envision Glasses to as many people as possible.”

Envision is available as an iOS and Android app and a sophisticated Google Glass integration.

The assistive glasses can read and translate any type of text (digital and handwritten) from any surface (e.g., food packaging, posters, timetables, computer display screens, barcodes etc.) into over 60 different languages. They can recognise faces, objects, and colours and describe scenes and immediately connect users to trusted contacts through its Ally function – a private and secure video call solution built directly into the glasses.

Envision Smart Glasses image

Building on these features, the new advancements are set to bring about more benefits to people with vision impairments.

Document guidance for accurate capture removes the frustrations of taking multiple images to fully capture a document’s complete text. The enhanced document guidance provides verbal instructions to guide users to position documents to the optimal scanning position allowing capture in a single motion. It means documents can be captured and read in a timelier and stress-free manner.

Layout detection provides a more realistic reading environment. Envision smart glasses will now put a document into context for the reader. Whether a column-based document such as a newspaper, a shop window poster, road sign, or restaurant menu, Envision will decipher the document layout and provide clear verbal guidance to the user. It recognises headers, photo captions, and more, giving verbal layout context to the user, enabling a more natural flow to the audio read back of the document.

Envision has also added four additional Asian languages, including Hindi, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean, which can be accurately captured and read offline. This addition brings the total of languages supported when offline to 26, with the number of languages supported when connected to more than 60.

The assistive technology firm has further added a third-party ecosystem to its platform by allowing developers to build added value services to its users. Launching with the initial partner Cash Reader app, Envision can now recognise banknotes in over 100 currencies.

One of the Envision Glasses’ most powerful and popular features is the Ally function that enables a user to ask for assistance or share experiences with trusted contacts (Allys) via completely private video calls directly from the glasses. The new, improved version is optimised for both mobile network and Wi-Fi hotspots, providing a unique service that delivers peace of mind.

Optimised Optical Character Recognition (OCR) through leveraging tens of millions of data points processed by the Envision Glasses and Apps has “significantly” improved image capture and interpretation accuracy.

In the UK, Envision Glasses can be purchased through Sight and Sound for £2,910.60, including VAT.

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