Google Inc.’s recent unveiling of its “Project Glass” has got the tech scene buzzing with excitement, but Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (NTT), Japan’s largest telecommunications provider, also has some technology in the works that could prove to be competition. NTT’s “SightFinder” technology, running in a pair prototype glasses, aims to assist the blind and elderly from having accidents. The technology works by connecting to the internet and relaying information back and forth with computer information databases, also known as cloud computing.
Google’s high-tech project showcases the users wearing the glasses getting map data and directions, using social features like messaging with friends, and even video chat. While NTT, formerly owned by the Japanese government, would openly admit they can’t match Google’s project, their goals are a little more narrowed. SightFinder works by streaming images from a camera to NTT’s computers. In turn, obstacles like traffic or hazards, and even street signs, are analyzed in real-time, and then warnings are sent to the user on their smartphone or other similar device. Not just restricted to those with visual impairments, NTT also thinks it could be used to provide directions and location-specific information to foreign travelers.
NTT posted a video in Japanese to their Facebook showing the technology in use. They hope to have SightFinder launched before the year’s end, however there is no pricing information at this time, as the company is still negotiating with commercial partners.