Low-power chip processes 3-D camera data, could enable wearable device to guide the visually impaired.

MIT researchers have developed a low-power chip for processing 3-D camera data that could help visually impaired people navigate their environments. The chip consumes only one-thousandth as much power as a conventional computer processor executing the same algorithms.

Using their chip, the researchers also built a prototype of a complete navigation system for the visually impaired. About the size of a binoculars case and similarly worn around the neck, the system uses an experimental 3-D camera from Texas Instruments. The user carries a mechanical Braille interface developed at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), which conveys information about the distance to the nearest obstacle in the direction the user is moving.

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