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Ford’s New Device Lets Blind People ‘Feel’ Scenery

Part of what makes a long car ride bearable is gazing out the window at the scenery, preferably while listening to music. I can only imagine, then, how boring a long car ride must be for a blind person. Ford, along with the Aedo Project, has been tinkering with a new device that, while it cannot completely replicate a scrolling view, can give a blind person a taste of the world passing them by.

The device, “Feel the View,” attaches to the inside of a car window. When its button is pressed, the device takes a virtual grayscale snapshot of whatever’s outside. With the image stored, the device sends out vibrations across the window. The vibrations vary in intensity based on how much light a particular part of the image contains.

A passenger can move their finger around the window to feel the vibrations and get an idea of how much light is coming through. It takes some practice, but ideally, a blind passenger can paint a mental picture of the view using the vibrations as a guide. The device also features an AI assistant that can speak descriptions of the view through the car’s speakers.

Ford is shooting for a commercial release of “Feel the View” some time next year. No official pricetag yet, but they are ballparking it beneath 100 Euros.