Monday, 05 May 2014 16:18

Aussie companies put Google Glass to work for people with disability

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Mobile and wearable app developer b2cloud is working with Telstra to explore the use of Google Glass by people with disability.

b2cloud and Telstra have been working on apps for Google Glass for around six months. Two prototype apps have emerged from the partnership: a vision impaired app and a hearing impaired app.

The vision impaired app, trialled by Telstra employee Kelly Schultz, uses Image Searcher's TapTapSee technology to identify the object that the user is looking at. For example, it can distinguish between regular and minted frozen peas, baked beans in tomato or BBQ sauce, and the male and female symbols on toilet doors.

"To be able to identify objects, to be connected to the world and have it all private in your ear. Fantastic," said Ms Schultz.

The hearing impaired app, trialled by Telstra Peter Miller, listens to the conversation and displays a transcript of what is being said by the person the user is looking at.

b2cloud Telstra 2

The transcription can come from a human typist or speech recognition software.

"I used to struggle in environments where there were multiple people in a room," said Mr Miller.

"But rather than having to constantly look at my laptop now I can simply walk in and engage like the rest of the participants, it's really exciting."

b2cloud managing director Josh Guest said "Telstra is taking a smart approach by experimenting with the technology early, building prototypes and getting them in the hands of a select target user group for real world testing.

"When Google Glass is made more widely available, then Telstra will already have a strong understanding of the capabilities of this technology."

b2cloud is working with other Australian corporations on the development of Google Glass apps, but the Telstra projects are among the first to be made public.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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