Google’s smart contact lenses could aid the visually impaired

In today's accessible technology roundup: Google wants to embed cameras in contact lenses, Apple gets a patent for a new GUI for touch devices to improve accessibility and a hacker develops a virtual cane for the blind

Drawing taken from Google's patent application showing the contact lenses with embedded camerasImage credit: United States Patent and Trademark Office
From Google's patent application titled "Image Capture Component on Active Contact Lens"

In last week’s accessible tech news roundup, I wrote about how Google Glass is showing promise as a tool to aid people with Parkinson’s. Now comes news that Google has applied for a U.S. patent for contact lenses with embedded cameras. The lenses could, in theory, help the visually impaired by detecting and identifying nearby objects and people and inform the user through a connected device such as a smartphone. [via Patent Bolt]

Here are some other recent news items and information about the development of accessible technology:

  • Apple was recently awarded a patent on a new GUI for touch devices (e.g., touch screen, trackpads) that would improve accessibility for the visually impaired. [via Cult of Mac]

  • Samsung recently came out with three accessibility-related accessories for its Galaxy Core Advance phone: a stand for automating the process of scanning and reading back documents, a cover to detect nearby objects using ultrasound and alert the user and small NFC tags that can be used to provider reminders or warnings about nearby objects. [via TechCrunch]

  • Roman Kozak has developed a new virtual cane for the blind to aid with navigation, using Arduino technology, a 3D-printed cylinder and an ultrasonic sensor. The cane also connects to an Android phone via Bluetooth. [via Hack A Day]

  • Wondering why HTML requires alt tags on images but WCAG 2.0 does not? Steve Faulkner of the Paciello Group wrote a short piece last week explaining why they differ; be sure to scroll down to the comments for additional info.

  • EASI is offering a free webinar this Thursday, April 24th, at 2pm ET explaining the importance of color accessibility.

Was there other news or interesting information from the world of accessible technology that I missed? Let me know in the comments.

Read more of Phil Johnson's #Tech blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Phil on Twitter at @itwphiljohnson. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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