Toyota takes mobility to a new level
A new wearable mobility device developed by Toyota, called Project Blaid, could help blind and visually impaired people enjoy greater freedom, independence and confidence.
The device is designed to fill the gaps left by canes, guide dogs and basic GPS devices by giving users more information about their surroundings. Worn around the shoulders, it will help them better navigate indoor spaces, such as office buildings and shopping malls, by identifying features such as escalators, stairs, doors and toilet facilities.
A camera detects the user’s surroundings and communicates information through speakers and vibration motors. In turn, the user will be able to interact with the device using voice recognition and control buttons. Toyota plans to develop the device with integrated mapping, object identification and facial recognition functions.
Doug Moore, Toyota partner robotics manager, says: “Toyota is about more than just the great cars and trucks we build. We believe we have a role to play in addressing mobility challenges, including helping people with limited mobility to do more. We believe this project has the potential to enrich the lives of people who are blind and visually impaired.”
A short video previewing the technology is available at TheToyotaEffect.com, showing a young blind man testing an early-stage version of the device.