Sound for vision: Moscow develops equipment for people with disabilities
A Russian company has presented a unique audiovisual neural network system for people with visual impairments and a simulator for children with hearing loss at the International Trade Fair for Rehabilitation and Care. The exhibition was held in Dusseldorf, Germany, on 26–29 September, and was attended by 35 countries. Moscow was represented by nine high-tech companies.
«Moscow is actively supporting high-tech companies, with innovations in medicine and rehabilitation playing a special role, because they are very important socially. Moscow has established all the necessary infrastructure to develop knowledge-intensive businesses: industrial parks, youth innovative work centres, innovative territorial clusters and coworking spaces, among other things,» said Natalya Sergunina, Deputy Moscow Mayor and Head of the Mayor and Moscow Government Central Office.
The audiovisual system transforms visual information into sound. The high-tech instrument is comprised of glasses with a wide-angle camera and an IR sensor that provide users with information about objects around them. The glasses’ temples have a microprocessor, battery, bone conduction headphones, an additional set of headphones and control buttons. The glasses are connected to the computing unit – the user’s smartphone – via Bluetooth.
The neural network technology and artificial intelligence give a wide range of opportunities to the user. The glasses can recongise an unlimited number of objects and even faces of the people added to the cloud storage. They record all obstacles, objects and road signs, see and voice texts, even at night. They can also react to emergencies, such as changes in body position (in this case the equipment will call for help), serve as a navigator and pair with other equipment (in particular, fitness trackers).
A simulator that helps hearing-impaired children produce clear speech is another innovation. The equipment looks like a table with interactive screens for a teacher and several pupils. It has microphones and headphones as well as a control computer, digital psychoacoustic processor and teaching software. During a lesson, the teacher makes an individual audio programme of the frequencies that can be heard and teaches using 200 developing games. The simulator does not only help Russian children but also children from other countries: the exercises have already been translated into English.
Nex-T (a resident of the Technopolis Moscow special economic zone) specialises in the production of interactive systems and rehabilitation equipment for people with disabilities. The company holds five patents in nanotechnology.