NEW YORK (CNN) — Ford revealed a prototype technology, called Feel the View, that allows blind passengers to “feel” what they can’t see outside a car’s window. The automaker released a video this week touting the technology.
Here’s how it works: A camera attaches to the car’s window and takes photographs of the view outside.READ MORE: Family Holds Vigil, Seeks Accountability From Alameda Police Following In-Custody Death Of Mario Gonzalez
Those images are then reproduced as a grayscale rendering in the window glass using special LED lights. When touched, the different shades of gray vibrate at up to 255 different frequencies. By feeling the image, a visually impaired person can mentally recreate the view outside.
The concept incorporates an image recognition system that says aloud what is outside the car through its built-in speakers. For instance, it’ll tell passengers when they’re passing a mountain, a forest or an open field.
Ford (F) developed it in collaboration with Aedo, an Italian company specializing in technology to assist the visually impaired.
A Ford spokesman said the company has no plans to offer the device for sale.READ MORE: COVID Vaccines: Santa Clara Set To Deliver 1 Millionth Dose Amid Supply Influx - 'Something To Celebrate'
The idea seemed compelling to Alan Morse, CEO of the Lighthouse Guild, an organization that provides support for the visually impaired. It resembles a number of other technologies that translate optical information into either audible descriptions or tactile experiences. For instance, there are glasses that can “read” text for a blind person and printers that produce textured relief versions of images.
Ford’s “Feel the View” technology might be put to its best use as a tablet a person could walk with. He imagined a blind individual walking down the street while fingering a tablet.
“In New York, you’d look right in place,” he said.
Unfortunately, the technology simply wouldn’t work in something as small as a smartphone or tablet, said Marco Alù Saffi, a spokesman for Ford of Italy.
Still, Morse said he commends Ford for thinking of it.MORE NEWS: UPDATE: No Curfew Enacted After San Leandro Police Receive Threat Of Possible Looting At Bayfair Mall
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