NUS research develop AI-powered ‘eye’ for visually impaired people to ‘see’ objects-ZoomTech News

SINGAPORE, Feb. 5, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Purchasing for groceries is a standard exercise for many people, however for visually impaired individuals, figuring out grocery gadgets could be daunting. A group of researchers from the Nationwide College of Singapore’s College of Computing (NUS Computing) launched AiSee, an reasonably priced wearable assistive machine that helps individuals with visible impairment ‘see’ objects round them with the assistance of synthetic intelligence (AI).

People with visible impairment face each day hurdles, notably with object identification which is essential for each easy and sophisticated decision-making. Whereas breakthroughs in AI have dramatically improved visible recognition capabilities, real-world utility of those superior applied sciences stays difficult and error-prone.

AiSee, which was first developed in 2018 and progressively upgraded over a span of 5 years, goals to beat these limitations by leveraging state-of-the-art AI applied sciences.

“With AiSee, our goal is to empower customers with extra pure interplay. By following a human-centred design course of, we discovered causes to query the standard strategy of utilizing glasses augmented with a digital camera. Folks with visible impairment could also be reluctant to put on glasses to keep away from stigmatisation. Subsequently, we’re proposing another {hardware} that includes a discreet bone conduction headphone,” mentioned lead researcher of Venture AiSee Affiliate Professor Suranga Nanayakkara, who’s from the Division of Data Techniques and Analytics at NUS Computing.

The person merely wants to carry an object and activate the in-built digital camera to seize a picture of the item. With the assistance of AI, AiSee will determine the item, and it’ll additionally present extra info when queried by the person.

How does AiSee work?

AiSee includes three key elements:

(1) The attention: Imaginative and prescient engine laptop software program

AiSee incorporates a micro-camera that captures the person’s area of view. This varieties the software program element of AiSee, additionally known as the ‘imaginative and prescient engine laptop’. The software program is able to extracting options reminiscent of textual content, logos, and labels from the captured picture for processing.

(2) The mind: AI-powered picture processing unit and interactive Q&A system

After the person snaps a photograph of the item of curiosity, AiSee utilises subtle cloud-based AI algorithms to course of and analyse the captured photographs to determine the item. The person also can ask a spread of questions to search out out extra in regards to the object.

AiSee employs superior text-to-speech and speech-to-text recognition and processing know-how to determine objects and comprehend the person’s queries. Powered by a big language mannequin, AiSee excels in interactive question-and-answer exchanges, enabling the system to precisely comprehend and reply to the person’s queries in a immediate and informative method.

In comparison with most wearable assistive units which require smartphone pairing, AiSee operates as a self-contained system that may operate independently with out the necessity for any extra units.

(3) The speaker: Bone conduction sound system

The headphone of AiSee utilises bone conduction know-how, which permits sound transmission by the bones of the cranium. This ensures that people with visible impairment can successfully obtain auditory info whereas nonetheless accessing exterior sounds, reminiscent of conversations or visitors noise. That is notably important for visually impaired individuals as environmental sounds present important info for decision-making, particularly in conditions involving security concerns.

“At current, visually impaired individuals in Singapore wouldn’t have entry to assistive AI know-how of this stage of sophistication. Subsequently, we imagine that AiSee has the potential to empower visually impaired individuals to independently accomplish duties that at present require help. Our subsequent step is to make AiSee reasonably priced and accessible to the lots. To attain this, we’re making additional enhancements, together with a extra ergonomic design and a sooner processing unit,” defined Assoc Prof Nanayakkara.

NUS pupil Mark Myres, who helped to check AiSee as a visually impaired person, commented, “Plenty of time, assistive units appear very focused at completely blind individuals or visually impaired individuals. I believe AiSee is an efficient steadiness. Each visually impaired and blind individuals may get loads of advantages from this.”

Person testing and additional enhancements

Assoc Prof Nanayakkara and his group are at present in discussions with SG Allow in Singapore to conduct person testing with individuals with visible impairment. The findings will assist to refine and enhance AiSee’s options and efficiency. As well as, B.P. De Silva Holdings Pte Ltd has made a beneficiant reward of S$150,000 to help the mission.

BPH’s determination to contribute in direction of the event of AiSee is rooted in its dedication to company social accountability and a real need to make a constructive impression on society with a broader mission of fostering inclusivity and accessibility. Its philanthropic endeavour additionally displays its perception within the transformative energy of know-how to handle societal challenges and create a extra equitable and inclusive world.

Ms Ku Geok Boon, Chief Government Officer of SG Allow, mentioned, “Revolutionary options enabled by assistive applied sciences can change the lives of individuals with disabilities, whether or not in supporting them to dwell extra independently or decreasing limitations to employment. Because the focal company and sector enabler for incapacity and inclusion in Singapore, SG Allow is pleased to work with companions like NUS and B.P. De Silva Holdings Pte Ltd to leverage know-how to empower individuals with disabilities.”

Past this mission, SG Allow additionally seeks to collaborate with NUS to discover how AI, human-computer interface and assistive know-how can provide individuals with disabilities extra technological choices.

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SOURCE Nationwide College of Singapore

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