iVisit, a company who makes video conferencing software, has, with the help of a NIH grant, turned its talents to helping the blind be even more independent.
They have developed two products which in the demo below appear pretty amazing.
The first, clearly an outgrowth of their video conferencing business, is called SeeStar, and would allow a blind person to transmit video to a sighted partner, who would then be able to describe the scene to the partner. The application integrate with Google maps using GPS, providing even more information to the sighted partner. The software does not just depend on the sighted partner however, with it being able to independently recognize land marks in the video stream.
Progressing from there is SeeScan, which takes that talent to a different level, being able to recognize and read out the names of common objects, even when they are partly obfuscated. The database can also be trained and extended, meaning the software should be useful in many situations beyond shopping for example.
The software package is still under development and has not yet been released to the public.