Search
Close this search box.

We are creating some awesome events for you. Kindly bear with us.

NUS’s AI-Powered Wearable Device for the Visually Impaired

Image credits: National University of Singapore
Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Navigating daily tasks can be a daunting challenge for individuals with visual impairments, who often struggle with object identification – a fundamental aspect of decision-making and independence. Recognising this pressing need, a team of researchers from the National University of Singapore’s School of Computing (NUS Computing) has unveiled a groundbreaking solution: AiSee, an innovative wearable device empowered by artificial intelligence (AI) to assist visually impaired individuals in ‘seeing’ and interacting with their surroundings.

Image credits: National University of Singapore

For many, activities like grocery shopping are routine and effortless. However, for those living with visual impairments, such tasks can pose significant obstacles. The development of AiSee stems from a deep-seated commitment to harnessing technology for social good and addressing the challenges faced by individuals with disabilities.

Led by Associate Professor Suranga Nanayakkara from NUS Computing’s Department of Information Systems and Analytics, the research team embarked on a multi-year journey to conceptualise, design, and refine AiSee – a wearable assistive device tailored to the specific needs and preferences of visually impaired users.

At the heart of AiSee’s development lies a human-centred design approach, ensuring that the device seamlessly integrates into users’ lives while prioritising comfort, functionality, and discretion.

The concept of AiSee emerged from the team’s recognition of the limitations and stigmatisation associated with traditional assistive devices, such as glasses augmented with cameras. Understanding that many visually impaired individuals may be reluctant to use conspicuous devices, the researchers opted for a more discreet solution: a bone-conduction headphone that enables auditory interaction without drawing unwanted attention.

AiSee operates through three primary components: the ‘eye,’ the ‘brain,’ and the ‘speaker.’ The ‘eye’ comprises a micro-camera capturing the user’s field of view, while the ‘brain’ leverages state-of-the-art AI algorithms to process images in real-time and identify objects. Through advanced text-to-speech and speech-to-text recognition technology, AiSee facilitates interactive question-and-answer exchanges, allowing users to seek additional information about their surroundings effortlessly.

Unlike many wearable assistive devices that rely on smartphone pairing for functionality, AiSee operates as a self-contained system, offering users unparalleled independence and convenience. Moreover, AiSee’s bone conduction sound system ensures effective auditory feedback while preserving users’ awareness of surrounding sounds—an essential consideration for safety and situational awareness.

The development of AiSee represents a collaborative effort between NUS Computing researchers, corporate partners, and organisations dedicated to empowering individuals with disabilities. Through partnerships with SG Enable – an agency focused on promoting disability inclusion in Singapore – and the support of corporate benefactors, the research team aims to refine and enhance AiSee’s features, making it accessible to a broader audience.

Ms Ku Geok Boon, Chief Executive Officer of SG Enable, emphasised the transformative potential of AiSee and the importance of leveraging technology to empower persons with disabilities. By providing innovative solutions that enhance independence and quality of life, AiSee embodies the spirit of inclusivity and accessibility, aligning with SG Enable’s mission to create a more inclusive society.

As AiSee undergoes user testing and further refinements, it epitomises the power of interdisciplinary research and collaborative partnerships in driving positive social change. With its potential to revolutionise the lives of visually impaired individuals, AiSee stands as a testament to the profound impact of technology in fostering inclusivity, independence, and empowerment.

PARTNER

Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

PARTNER

As a Titanium Black Partner of Dell Technologies, CTC Global Singapore boasts unparalleled access to resources.

Established in 1972, we bring 52 years of experience to the table, solidifying our position as a leading IT solutions provider in Singapore. With over 300 qualified IT professionals, we are dedicated to delivering integrated solutions that empower your organization in key areas such as Automation & AI, Cyber Security, App Modernization & Data Analytics, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Renowned for our consulting expertise and delivering expert IT solutions, CTC Global Singapore has become the preferred IT outsourcing partner for businesses across Singapore.

PARTNER

Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

SUPPORTING ORGANISATION

SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

PARTNER

HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

PARTNER

IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.