Current visually impaired (VI) assistive technologies are extremely limited.
VI individuals rely on braille or audio systems that read aloud. These technologies do not enable VI individuals to access the full range of textual information accessible to sighted individuals. Those with visual limitations must rely on inefficient technologies such as document scanners to recognize printed or handwritten text. Reading the resulting text requires refreshable braille display systems, which raise cells to form bumps using a mechanical system. These devices are expensive and too large to be carried by an individual.
Navigation technologies available to visually impaired individuals are currently limited to use of canes and seeing eye dogs. Moreover, navigation information such as maps and GPS systems are unavailable to these individuals. There is no current method to make surrounding street and building signs readable to those who are visually impaired. In contrast, sighted individuals live in a world of increasing information, with smartphones and the internet providing a wealth of information inaccessible to the VI.