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Researchers build haptic ‘Third Eye’ glove to assist blind shoppers

A group of researchers is developing a special glove that will be able to help blind people with their shopping.

The team at Pennsylvania State University is working on a device capable of recognising products and subsequently guiding users right to them.

So how does it work? There’s a small webcam attached to the glove towards the base of the palm, which handily faces whichever direction the wearer points their hand.

It also contains a number of haptic motors that vibrate at different strengths and in different areas of the glove, to indicate where the user should move their hand.

As of December 2014, the system behind the glove, called ‘Third Eye: VI’, was capable of “very precisely” identifying 87 different products.

However, Vijay Narayanan, the project lead, admits that there’s a long way to go before the invention reaches the required standard, especially as consumers typically have strong preferences in terms of brand and variety.

“If it just says ‘cereal’ or ‘dairy,’ it’s not going to help anyone,” he told Penn State News. “If you want tomato sauce, we need to know if it’s Prego tomato sauce. Is it organic Prego tomato sauce? That’s the fine level of detail we need, and that’s part of the challenge we face.”

The Third Eye team is set to on hold a series of trials and tests to help polish the technology.

SEE ALSO: Gloveone: Feel your way around VR

Earlier this week we learned about Gloveone, a pair of hi-tech gloves that let you feel your way around virtual reality. Follow the link above more details.

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