Blind people could be able to ‘see’ due to Ford’s new smart windows
Feel the View is Ford’s latest technology that could come as a godsend to visually impaired passengers. It allows them to ‘see’ the view outside the window through their fingertips.
Most people tend to neglect the amazing qualities that mother nature has been providing the human kind for thousands of years. Walking, smelling, touching, seeing and tasting, they all come naturally and most of us couldn’t imagine life without any of them. Unfortunately, not all people are that lucky.
All of the above mentioned qualities are important, but one that definitely stands out is the ability to see the world around you. To be able to stare at that picturesque mountain landscape for minutes, to be mesmerized by the breathtaking waterfalls and by everything surrounding you are some of those small things that bring joy to your life. But when it comes to the visually impaired ones, they may never get the chance to enjoy all these little things. Yet.
Ford, one of the greatest car manufacturers on the planet, has started working on a project that could revolutionize the world of visually impaired ones.
Ford helps you to “Feel the View”
The Italian division of the giant car manufacturer teamed up with Aedo (a local startup in Italy) and with GTB Rome in order to develop a technology that will help blind passengers the possibility to ‘see’ the scenic beauty of nature and the landscape outside the car view through a smart car window.
The blind passenger will move the fingertips over the window and the window will ‘read’ the outside view for them. What actually happens is hat the smart window generates a haptic visual language of the world outside the car window. It even has a suggestive name – “Feel the View”.The “Feel the View” smart window is only a prototype now, but it may soon become a very popular car accessory.
A video to present the concept has been released on the Internet.
How does the “Feel the View” system work?
The special device utilizes a camera placed outside the car and facing the scenery. This device is placed inside the car and attaches right above the passenger window. The passenger then presses the button and the device takes a picture of the current view outside the car window.
The freshly-taken, colorful photo is immediately converted into various shades of gray with the aid of LED lights that generate different levels of vibration (more than 250 different levels of intensity).
As the person moves the fingers over the picture, they will feel the different levels of vibration, thus the window will generate a haptic feedback for that person.
Worth mentioning is that there’s also a voice integrated system that provides the passenger with audio description and helps them to get a context on what they’re ‘seeing’. The passenger will know that they’re passing a forest or a mountain, for instance.
Federico Russo, the executive creative director of GTB Rome, talked about the beginnings of this project:
“When the idea was at its first stage, we looked for suppliers all around the world to understand what was the best way to make it come to life. As the prototype started taking shape, we realized we were giving birth to a complete new language that would give visually impaired people a new chance to visualize and experience traveling like never before.”
All in all, Ford has no plans to bring this to market yet, as it’s part of their advanced research. However, we may see this kind of technology in autonomous vehicle program of Ford later in the future.