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CES: Smart glasses for the visually impaired

At CES 2023, Panasonic and Biel Glasses exhibited smart glasses that aim to solve mobility problems of people with sight challenges.

At the CES 2023 tech expo in Las Vegas last week, Biel Glasses and Panasonic unveiled smart glasses that support the visually impaired.

Biel Glasses is a Barcelona-based start-up that develops smart glasses to solve the mobility problems of visually impaired people, increasing their autonomy. The company was founded by a medical doctor and an engineer who wanted a solution for Biel, their son, who was born with low vision. Biel Glasses’ technology uses AI and robotics to understand the scene, and mixed reality to adapt it to the patients’ remaining vision. 

The joint product integrates Panasonic’s lightweight 5.2K HDR capable VR goggles with Biel Glasses’ technology for low vision. It solves the mobility issues caused by low vision, which are most severe when there is peripheral vision loss (commonly known as tunnel vision, an effect of diseases like glaucoma and retinitis pigmentosa, among other causes), allowing users to perceive obstacles and other hazards, so they can move around safely and independently.

Main product features, as provided by Panasonic:

1. Supporting autonomous movement

AI and robotics are used to analyse the scene contents captured by cameras and sensors in real time, detecting hazards to mobility, such as obstacles, steps, holes, etc. Mixed reality is then used to notify them in a way that the user can perceive them, by means of graphical indications adapted to the user’s remaining vision.

2. Vision support according to visual characteristics

Optometrists adjust the functions of the smart glasses according to each patient’s specific condition and needs. It assists their eyesight with optimal image processing (zoom, adaptation to lighting, contrast enhancement etc.). 

3. Reduced wearing burden

By adopting OLED display panels and pancake lenses for the image display of smart glasses, we have achieved compact size, light weight, and low power consumption. This makes it easy to move independently and reduces the burden of wearing.

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