ANAHEIM, Calif. -- March 9, 2020 – Envision, the award-winning iOS and Android smartphone app that enables blind and visually impaired people to independently access visual information around them, announced plans today to integrate its AI-powered software technology into Google Glass at CSUN, one of the biggest assistive technology conferences in the US. Envision developed its software on Google Glass, with the recently upgraded hardware of their Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2. The combination of Envision’s software with Google Glass provides blind and visually impaired users with a significantly less obtrusive and hands-free way of accessing the world around them -- empowering users with greater freedom and independence to access and ‘see’ the world around them. View a short video of how Envision works here.
How Envision Works.
Envision’s software uses artificial intelligence (AI) to extract different kinds of information from images and then speaks the images out loud so the user has a greater understanding of the environment around him or her. Envision’s software provides the fastest and most accurate OCR (Optical Character Recognition) available, and can read any type of text from any surface (e.g., food packaging, posters, display screens, QR and barcodes, handwritten text, etc.), recognize faces, describe scenes, detect colors, find objects, read complex documents and letters, and more. The software is also the most diverse on the market today, capable of recognizing text and scripts in more than 60 languages. Envision enables blind and low-vision users worldwide to read documents at work, recognize their friends, find personal belongings at home, and use public transport -- independently on their own.
Envision on Smart Glasses.
First available as an iOS and Android smartphone app, Envision was awarded the Best Accessibility App at the 2019 Google Play Awards. As the next step in the company’s evolution, Envision’s software will now be embedded in smart glasses, providing blind and visually impaired users with a significantly more unobtrusive and hands-free way to access the world around them. One of Envision’s Smart Glasses beta testers, Joy, said, “This kind of freedom is very invaluable, especially when you’re outside and have a cane or a guide dog in a hand already. This is a game-changer for me and my independence.”
“Working with Google Glass’ technical specifications and build quality has been ideal for our development needs,” said Karthik Kannan, co-founder of Envision. “The level of support we’ve received from the Google Glass team has enabled us to replicate the fantastic user experience of the Envision app and deliver it in a seamless way that empowers blind and visually impaired people worldwide with a hands-free, easy way to ‘see’ the world around them through the spoken word.”
The availability of Envision’s assistive technology embedded into smart glasses serves an important, timely need. According to data from the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), out of a global population of 7.3 billion, 253 million people (29%) globally are visually impaired, of which 36 million are blind and 217 million with moderate to severe visual impairment.
“We're excited Envision is using Glass Enterprise Edition to help people more easily access the visual information around them and get things done,” said Melvin Chua, Head of Partnerships at Google Glass.
Available for pre-order starting March 9, 2020, Envision’s AI-powered smart glasses are available at a reduced price ($1,699 super early bird and $1,899 early bird), and will retail at $2,099 once shipping begins to early buyers in August 2020. Access the Envision press kit here.