Passing scenery and stunning vistas might soon be communicated to vision impaired passengers using new technology developed by Ford.
The blue oval’s Italian agency GTB Roma and tech start-up Aedo developed a device that harnesses haptic feedback to create a vibrating representation of the outside world, giving people who can’t see a landscape the chance to feel it.
The device is shown working on a prototype window in the video below.
When a button is pushed it takes a photo of the view and converts the image into a greyscale photo. From there the 8-bit greyscale colourmap contains 255 different shades of grey that correspond to 255 different levels of vibration on the glass.
Running a finger over the window provides a similar haptic feel as new mobile technology has further implications for future in-car components and devices for people with low vision.
In addition to vibration, artificial intelligence with image recognition deciphers objects in the scene and provides voice guidance for what the finger is touching, such as the ocean, gumtrees or kangaroos.
The car-tech is called Feel the View and while there are no plans for mass production yet, it could see its way into specially built transport vehicles.
Ford Italy spokesperson Alù Saffi says the device could transform sightless journeys for the blind.
"We seek to make people's lives better and this was a fantastic opportunity to help blind passengers experience a great aspect of driving. The technology is advanced, but the concept is simple – and could turn mundane journeys into truly memorable ones."
Watch the video: