Dedicated to Improving the Lives of Blind and Visually Impaired People

New Technologies Announced at Assistive Technology Conference

by Jaime Rodriguez, RDPFS Intern

The 37th Annual CSUN Assistive Technology Conference, which took place in Anaheim California from March 14 through 18, 2022, gave participants the opportunity to explore all aspects of assistive technology. In returning to an in-person event, this year’s conference featured more than 250 educational sessions and workshops that focused on assistive technologies that exist and are being developed for people with disabilities. Presentations included such topics as data and web accessibility and digital accessibility being a human right. Discussions on how the media frame people with disabilities, and how they influence myths and stereotypes regarding people with disabilities, also occurred. Here are two highlights:

Envision provided an update on Google-inspired AI-powered smart glasses. The AI specs, originally created in 2020, have been improved for a better overall user experience by pairing the glasses to a phone application that processes the images that the glasses “see,” relaying that information, including images and text, to the user. The glasses are capable of reading documents, finding items the user is looking for, recognizing faces of family and friends, assisting the user in riding public transportation, and even describing the immediate environment. With this update, the glasses can now assist not only English speakers, but Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, and Korean speakers as well.

Orbit Research announced their “Orbit Speak” braille notetaker, a modern, pocket-sized braille notetaker that has a host of accessible features. The device itself has built-in note-taking and productivity applications including a book reader, file editor, calendar, address book, calculator, clock, and alarms, and can connect to smartphones and computers via Bluetooth and USB. It can even connect users to the internet, social media, email, and text messages, and also sports a slot for a full-sized SD Card. The Orbit Speak supports a wide range of languages spoken around the world for use by greater numbers of individuals with vision loss.

The Envision smart-glasses and the Orbit Research “Orbit Speak” are just two of the amazing announcements at the CSUN Conference. For more information about the Conference and announcements and technologies covered, check out the CSUN website. If you would like to attend the conference retroactively, go to the 2022 CSUN Assistive Technology Conference YouTube playlist. To learn more about  Envision’s smart glasses, read the article, Google-inspired smart glasses for the blind adds eye-catching new features — here’s how it works. And for more information regarding Orbit Research’s Orbit Speak, read the article, Orbit Research Introduces The Orbit Speak Notetaker at CSUN.