Project Blaid - The Toyota Effect

Toyota is not a brand we associate with vision. Yet this company is developing a wearable device for the blind and visually impaired.

Called Project Blaid, the device will be worn around the shoulders. Blaid helps users navigate indoor spaces, such as office buildings and shopping malls. It works by helping the wearer identify everyday things like restrooms, escalators, stairs and doors. It is hoped Blaid will fill the gaps left by canes, dogs and basic GPS devices. Wearers will have more information about their surroundings.

Cameras detect the surroundings and communicate to the wearer through speakers and vibration motors. Users will interact with the device through voice recognition and buttons. Future plans include integrated mapping, object identification and facial recognition technologies.

The project reflects the company’s commitment to enrich lives. “Mobility is empowering,” Toyota’s Simon Nagata says. “We want to extend the freedom of mobility for all, no matter their circumstance, location or ability.”