Pioneering use of wearables helps blind people see


GetVisionLiving with blindness or visual impairment can make the world a very limited place. Whether in or out of home, getting around and doing everyday things may no longer seem possible. 

That’s a challenge UK startup, GetVision decided to tackle. They’ve developed augmented reality (AR) software that transforms head-mounted wearables to act as eyes for blind people.

GiveVision co-founder Elodie Draperi says that’s just the start of things to come.


Elodie, can you tell us more about GiveVision?

GiveVision is on a mission to provide greater mobility and independence through technology to people living with sight loss.

We’ve been working on different applications powering head-mounted wearables to assist people as they go about their everyday lives. Enhancing their remaining vision and translating visual information into audio in real-time has been our main areas of focus.

What are you working on at the moment? Using Get Vision

Our latest prototype, the Sight PLUS Vision Enhancement Kit is a pair of virtual-reality style goggles that gives people the ability, in a hands-free and easy way, to magnify and adjust what there is around, up close or at a distance.

It enables partially sighted people to see again by combining real-time video augmentation with heads-up display technology to enhance their remaining vision.

We’re currently inviting people to take the kit home and try it out for two weeks, all free of charge. We’ve got more than 250 testers and have a group of users challenging the device every day. They share their insights on our Facebook page, which is invaluable to us. 

How did GiveVision get started?

GiveVision's journey started with a ‘geeky’ interest in Google Glass before realising the potential this type of technology has for blind and visually impaired people.

We developed a face recognition application for Google Glass and put it out to open source. Being approached by visually impaired people motivated us to develop the project further.

And so GiveVision was born and has been nurtured since by all our interactions and testing with users.

What’s the response been from the blind and partially sighted community?

Looking with Get Vision

Observing how our testers currently use magnifiers and other vision aid tools was an epiphany moment for us and the start of our interest in vision enhancement. 

We realised that 95 per cent of people registered blind have residual sight and would prefer to use it rather than audio description. That’s how we came up with our Sight Enhancement Kit.

We currently use a smartphone plugged into a virtual reality (VR) headset as this combination is the most reliable, affordable and efficient hardware available on the market.


What’s next for GiveVision?

In the short term, we are looking to power different hardware, especially smart glasses that are more discreet and lighter.

In a couple of years, we aim to expand our product globally, add more functionalities and adjust our tech solution to other disabilities. The longer and broader vision would be to turn existing, and mainstream developing technologies, into human augmentation devices.

Want to try it out?

You can apply or volunteer in free user trials for Sight PLUS Vision Enhancement.

For more, follow on Twitter and visit the GiveVision website and Facebook page. 


We're here to help

Go to our Help and support section for tips and advice on making this site easier to use, using our services, understanding impairments, and contacting us. To get in touch right now, use the Email, Chat or BSL links.