Last month Ford revealed a new technology that would allow blind and visually-impaired passengers to “feel” the vistas beyond their car window. Ford implemented the technology in cooperation with Adeo, an Italian company that creates technology for the visually impaired. The new prototype called “Feel the View” essentially translates a photo taken from a car’s external camera into a grayscale rendering on the car window; the various shade of gray vibrate at different frequencies, creating a texture that the visually-impaired passenger can touch and feel. The technology is combined with an image recognition system that tells the passengers what they are “seeing,”, be it a mountain, a pasture or a forest.
Although Ford has no plans to market the technology at this time, Feel the View represents a fascinating new approach to providing not only accessibility but also experiential opportunities for the blind and visually impaired. Perhaps museums could utilize the technology to allow those who cannot see the paintings of Picasso and Chagall to feel them. National Parks could do the same for our country’s stunning natural vistas. Some day the technology may even fit into a phone or tablet that could allow its user to “see” a map that would help them to navigate an urban environment.
Until then, we commend Ford for investing in a technology that could enrich the lives of the blind.
To read more about “Feel the View”, follow this link to Peter Valdes-Dapena’s reporting for CNN: http://money.cnn.com/2018/05/02/technology/ford-blind-view-tech/index.html