Telstra Develops Google Glass Apps for the Vision and Hearing Impaired

Telstra Develops Google Glass Apps for the Vision and Hearing Impaired

Since Google Glass was released to developers last year, we’ve seen a number of creative and useful apps created for the Android wearable device.

Two of the more noteworthy apps were announced last week via the Telstra blog. Telstra, in collaboration with b2cloud, have created two Google Glass applications that will allow the device to be used by the hearing and vision impaired.

Google Glass works by using the glass in front of the eye as a screen, creating a kind of augmented reality, and it is operated by voice recognition software.  Speech, hearing and vision are, of course, key components of the functionality of the device; so those with a sensory disability are almost unable to use Google Glass.  And from this revelation, these apps were born.

“These apps have been developed to see what could be done with technology to make the lives of hearing and vision impaired people a little easier,” said Telstra on its blog.

The app for the vision impaired works by creating audio descriptions of the images that appear in front of them.  The app for the hearing impaired works conversely; a phone or laptop recognises and transcribes speech and shows it on the glass for the hearing impaired individual to read.

These apps are two-fold, they enable the sensory impaired to use Google Glass and they also aim to aid and improve the lifestyle of those with an auditory or visual disability.  Both apps are in the prototype phase and have been tried and tested by two Telstra employees, Kelly Schulz and Peter Miller.

These apps have improved the ability of both Peter and Kelly to complete tasks in their daily lives.  Kelly, who is blind, is able to more safely cross roads and identify objects in front of her with the audio descriptions from the app.  Hearing impaired, Peter is able read conversations around him on the glass instead of constantly trying to lip read or wait for sign language translations.

In Australia, Google Glass is still in the developer phase and is not yet available for consumer purchase.  So those desiring to make good use of these applications will have to wait a little longer to get their hands on a set of Google Glasses.

There are four million people in Australia today that are living with a disability; and this technology has the potential to improve the lives of many of those people.