Proximity sensors for the visually impaired have been around for quite some time, however, the devices are less than ideal. Rather than predicting collisions, the devices often just detect when objects are too close. Now, researchers from Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Schepens Eye Research Institute have developed a body worn device that can predict the probability of collision with an object rather than simply notifying the wearer when an object is nearby.
The Smart Walking Aide prototype features a wide-angle camera that can detect when an object is near the wearer and when a wearer is likely to collide with the object. In a recent trial involving users wearing the prototype as they maneuvered through 41-meter course with 46 objects throughout, collisions were reduced by 37 percent using the Smart Walking Aide.