A research and development department of Toyota Motor is focusing on the development of a new wearable device that provides navigation services for the blind and helps them to act independently. The wearable device project is being developed by Toyota's robotics division called "BLAID." The BLAID device can be worn by the user on the shoulder. The device can use the camera, speaker and vibration motor to feed external information to the user; in turn, the user can interact with the device through voice recognition technology and related buttons.
It is reported that the current BLAID project is still in its infancy. As the development process continues to deepen, Toyota plans to add maps, object recognition and face recognition technologies to the device to make it more responsive.
A Toyota spokesperson explained that the BLAID project development has nothing to do with the Toyota Research Institute (TRI), the Toyota Motor Business Unit, which is committed to building advanced vehicle-based safe driving technologies. Toyota announced last year that it plans to invest 1 billion yuan in the next five years to support Toyota Research and Development. But the spokesperson said that both departments reflected how Toyota switched from a car company to a mobile company.
In response to the aging of Japanese society, Toyota has been developing robot assistant products for the elderly for many years. For example, Toyota has successfully developed a robotic assistant to help disabled people or older people to live independently, as well as a series of prototype robots with similar functions.
Doug Moore, technical manager of the Toyota Robotics Division, said: "Toyota's products and services not only have great cars and trucks, we believe that Toyota will play a role in solving mobile challenges in the future, including activities. The restricted group provides more help. We believe that the project will help blind and visually impaired users.â€ Toyota also said that BLAID equipment will be tested in the near future.
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