London - Scientists have invented spectacles that allow the blind to “see” people and objects.
The glasses use the fact that most people registered blind can still perceive light.
Pinhead-sized cameras in the frame capture images and send them to a computer in the wearer’s pocket, where they are simplified into a shape and displayed on the lenses.
The closer the object, the brighter the shape.
This could help the wearer shop or take public transport alone and the British Royal Society is now funding the development of software that could allow the glasses to recognise bus stops.
In time, it could even be possible for users to read text, with words passed to the wearer via an earpiece.
The invention, by Dr Stephen Hicks of Oxford University, will cost under £1 000 (about R15 000) and could be on sale by the end of 2014.
It is hoped the spectacles will help most of the 300 000 Britons who are registered blind.
Dr Hicks said the glasses represent the beginning of a “golden age for computer vision”.
Robert MacLaren, an Oxford University ophthalmologist, added: “It has been the stuff of science fiction for many years but now we have the real prospect of electronic visual aids being worn as casually as glasses.” - Daily Mail