Automobile major Toyota is
working to develop a wearable device for the blind and visually impaired that
will help them do more with greater freedom, independence and confidence.
Called Project Blaid, it reflects the company’s commitment to enrich lives by
advancing the freedom of mobility for all.
The device will help fill the
gaps left by canes, dogs and basic GPS devices by providing users with more
information about their surroundings. Worn around their shoulders, it will help
users better navigate indoor spaces, such as office buildings and shopping
malls, by helping them identify everyday features, including restrooms,
escalators, stairs and doors.
The device will be equipped
with cameras that detect the user’s surroundings and communicate information to
him or her through speakers and vibration motors. Users, in turn, will be able
to interact with the device through voice recognition and buttons. Toyota plans
to eventually integrate mapping, object identification and facial recognition
“Project Blaid is one example
of how Toyota is leading the way to the future of mobility, when getting around
will be about more than just cars,” said Simon Nagata, Executive Vice President
and Chief Administrative Officer, Toyota Motor North America. “We want to
extend the freedom of mobility for all, no matter their circumstance, location
or ability,” he added.
“Toyota is more than just the great cars and
trucks we build; we believe we have a role to play in addressing mobility
challenges, including helping people with limited mobility do more,” said Doug
Moore, Manager, Partner Robotics, Toyota, adding that “We believe this project
has the potential to enrich the lives of people who are blind and visually
As part of Project Blaid, Toyota is launching
an employee engagement campaign that invites team members company-wide to
submit videos of common indoor landmarks. These videos will subsequently be
used by Project Blaid developers to “teach” the device to better recognise
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