10 August 2020

The new device will help blind people to see by the sense of touch. Meaning that blind people will be able to “see” using their skin.

Scientists at the IKBFU “Fabrika” Science and Technology Park Laboratory of optics develop the device.

Dmitry Schitz, Head of the Laboratory:

“The idea of the sensor vision has been discussed for quite some time already. I found an article regarding it in 1969 volume of “Nature” Journal. The article viewed experimental research in which it was proved that the human brain can perceive pictures generated by a vibration matrix on a person’s back.  Within the framework of the experiment, a blind person was able to read letters and even perceive silhouettes of various things and people. This article inspired me on creating a device that would help visually impaired people”.

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The device works as follows: A 3D camera mounted on a blind person's head reads an image of the surrounding area, then the minicomputer builds a map of the distance of the objects in the camera's field of view. With the help of a special controller and a vibrating matrix, the remote map is transmitted to the human skin. Each pixel of the 3D map is assigned a value of distance, and the lower the distance of objects in the area of this pixel, the more vibration in the corresponding area of the vibrating sensor.

The unique device was patent in June.

Dmitry Schitz also added:

“At this stage, we have developed a way to build a 3D map showing how remote objects are from a camera: a special program for processing the image from a stereo camera, which also knows how to break this image into pixel areas and assign each of them a value of remoteness. This is the software part of the project, which is handled by student Yuri Voyteshenok. Another no less complicated task of the project is to develop a controller and a vibration sensor with good resolution. This part of the project is carried out by student Daniel Borov ”.

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