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This week we want to know all about ... The vEye

London Observer | January 28, 2007 
David Smith

Think of it as sat nav for humans instead of cars. The vEye, or virtual eye, uses the same technology to guide visually impaired people from A to B. It could eventually render guide dogs obsolete.

A vEye consists of a mobile phone with built-in GPS, the technology that allows satellite navigation, and a pair of wristbands. Users specify where they want to go, potentially by a voice command. When they need to turn left, the left wristband vibrates; when they need to turn right, the right wristband does the same. All the time their progress is being charted on a digital map to ensure they reach their final destination.

GPS can be imprecise and the signal can be lost inside a building such as a shopping centre. So the vEye would also rely on tiny radio frequency identification, or RFID, tags, which can be attached to or incorporated into products or surfaces and would be activated when the user comes close.
The idea came about when Ivan Cardim, a 22-year-old student from Brazil, realised that his grandfather's eyesight was failing.

'We started brainstorming,' said Cardim, who worked on the project with two friends, Carlos Rodrigues and Madson Menezes Costa. They spent five months working on computer coding. A £100 prototype is still under construction.

Rodrigues added: 'It would be automated like GPS in a car. This would not be a replacement for the cane, which is useful for avoiding objects in your path, but it cannot tell your direction.'

 

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