As noted in the letter below, this summer I was asked to review some technology by our national president.  At the time I thought the technology was tremendous but far too pricy for the average blind person.  The concept involves wearing Google Glass, which resembles a pair of trendy looking sunglasses with a tiny video camera on the top corner of the glasses.  The camera allows you to have a human assistant interpreting the world around you.  This could have huge implications for us as blind people.  I believe we will be able to view this technology at our upcoming state convention in Memphis.  IN the meantime, I hope you enjoy reading about some small aspect of its potential.

 

Dear Mark,

You asked the board to evaluate AIRA at convention, and I have been thinking more about it this morning, and the more I ponder, the product is limited and is missing something.  As I mentioned in a previous conversation, the price point is high for the amount of time I would be able to use the product, but what if the glasses also had a computerized and or artificial intelligence component as well that could lower the monthly subscription?  What if indoor GPS and also image and character recognition were imbedded in the technology somehow?

This morning I pictured myself walking into a mall with Google Glass, turning my head to the right, and the computer itself telling me through image recognition that there’s an escalator in front of my line of vision, turning my head a little to the left and a synthesized voice telling me that there’s a Bass Pro Shop with a door in my right field of vision, turning my head even more to the left and Glass telling me that there is a water fountain, tree,  and a Cheese Cake Factory with a door to my left.

Then, I walk in for some Cheese Cake and as I turn the pages of the menu, Glass reeds the menu to me.  Maybe I’ll go really crazy and imagine that Glass can communicate to the Cheese Cake Factory’s Kiosk on the table and I can order and pay for dinner, drinks and that yummy Cheese Cake at will.  Besides, who wants to wait on that one server who doesn’t have it all together anyway?

I can also imagine previously telling Glass to take pictures of my friends and it telling me that today my buddy Mark happens to be in the same place, and oh, he is also eating Cheese Cake.  Then, I would ask Glass to take me home via Uber.  I know some of these things would need some computer processing that perhaps Glass doesn’t currently have, but my Apple Watch piggybacks off my iPhone and does just fine doing most things.

And we could always use the customer service rep when there are many complex or moving parts.

I would hate for us to limit AIRA when the product’s ceiling is so very high.  The new Star Trek movie just came out, so let’s go where no blind person has gone before!

Best,

James Brown