Giving the blind a look-in.. Meet the Samsung Touch Sight Camera

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Among the many winners announced at the 2008 International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA), the Samung ‘Touch Sight’ Camera clearly stands out as a winner of note.

A class bit of design genius from the tech-bods at Samsung, the ‘Touch Sight’ deservedly won the Gold Medal in their Communication Tools (concept) category, and in my opinion, now deserves every bit of free publicity it can get. So, i’m happily doing exactly that.

Designed specifically for those with impaired vision, the revolutionary camera allows it’s user to take ‘pictures’ of whatever they like, and like a sort of blind-man’s polaroid, it immediately displays the image, not on an LCD screen, but on a raised Braille display sheet on the back of the camera.

For example, imagine you can’t see very well and you take a picture of your 30th birthday cake with the Touch Sight camera – well, suddenly, a 3-D embossed image of the cake will appear on the camera’s back surface for you to feel/look at and then save to feel away again at your own timely convenience. Pretty cool stuff, right? Right. But now replace the image of a birthday cake, with, say, the face of your first born child.. Yeah. Now it’s just amazing, isn’t it.

Well that’s not all. The camera also records a three second audio clip the moment you press the shutter button, so that the user can then use the sound as a point of reference for when they’re sitting back reviewing all their photos in their own time. Really ace stuff. So simple. So useful.

If you used the camera to take a pic of itself in a mirror, you’d probably feel an image of something that looks a little bit like a cross between a webcam and a pair of bulky science goggles – and you wouldn’t be far off the visual truth. But looks don’t mean nothing when it is the simple functionality and stunning end-result that is it’s ultimate selling point.

Because the Touch Sight is a concept model, there’s no news on any price, or expected release date. Hopefully we’ll know soon.

In the meantime, what really warms this particularly cynical reviewer’s heart is seeing a (somewhat rare) example of a major manufacturer using high-end technology in a new and exciting way for a minority marketplace. In a way that doesn’t immediately scream of the typically corporate mentality of trying to look like they’re being caring/sharing types, but are really just trying to hawk it for as many yen-euro-bucks as they can. Let’s hope others take note, and we see a raft of other similarly stunning inventions on the awards circuit soon.

[via Norakabiz]

Related posts: Sony Bravia for the Blind | Bright Blind

Ryan Weir