Nigerian startup Vinsighte is a pioneer in using technology to assist the blind, with several high-tech products such as “smart” reading glasses that convert text into speech.
According to the World Health Organization, about 15.3% of the world’s blind people live in the black continent “Of Africa”, and they often lack the resources and support necessary to succeed in school as well as the basics of daily life.
“I just wanted to try and see if we could build something that could solve the problem, and that’s where it all started,” said Kolawole Tomeicontinent CEO of Finsight.
Vinsighte distributes its products to schools and institutions and estimates that it has reached about 5,000 people with its help.
Japan is a pioneer in blind technology
Some time ago, Japan had come up with a very good strategy to help the blind walk in the streets without assistance, by installing prominent tiles on the sidewalks that guide the blind by touching them with a stick or with their feet to know the path and direction of his walk, and this strategy was soon transferred to many countries, where many countries of the world applied this idea in order to help the blind walk on the sidewalks and reach their destination without the need to ask for help.
With the development of technology to a large extent, efforts focused on developing an electronic system that relied on digital photography to help the blind walk alone on the sidewalks, by digitally tracking these prominent tiles and warning the blind in the event of any obstacle in his way while walking in the direction he wanted.
Researcher Chintaka Primachandra, from the Shibaura Institute of Technology in Japan, says that this technology is good, but it faces many challenges, such as the change in the colors of the tiles over time due to climatic factors or the change of their tones with different degrees of lighting, which makes it difficult for digital cameras to monitor them. And identifying their locations, and many countries use different degrees of coloration for these tiles, which makes it more difficult to identify them with specialized cameras for that.
To remedy this problem, Prof. Premachandra and his research team devised an algorithm for processing images captured by cameras, in order to increase the ability of these cameras to locate tiles with high accuracy.
This system consists of a camera with specialized lenses, and it is fixed on the chest of the blind and connected to a small computer the size of a credit card.
Where the computer processes the images taken of the colored tiles by the camera, to help the blind to track them and then issues a sound warning through a headset installed in the ear, to alert the blind to the presence of an obstacle in their way.