Toyota BLAID

Toyota Project BLAID wearable set to help blind and visually impaired people

Toyota is working to develop a wearable device for blind and visually impaired people that will help them do more with greater freedom, independence and confidence. Called Project BLAID, it reflects the company’s commitment to enrich lives by advancing the freedom of mobility for all.

The device will help fill the gaps left by canes, dogs and basic GPS devices by providing users with more information about their surroundings. Worn around their shoulders, it will help users better navigate indoor spaces, such as office buildings and shopping malls, by helping them identify everyday features, including bathrooms, escalators, stairs and doors.

The device will be equipped with cameras that detect the user’s surroundings and communicate information to him or her through speakers and vibration motors. Users, in turn, will be able to interact with the device through voice recognition and buttons. Toyota plans to eventually integrate mapping, object identification and facial recognition technologies. 

See it in action in this video.

“Project BLAID is one example of how Toyota is leading the way to the future of mobility, when getting around will be about more than just cars,” said Simon Nagata, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, Toyota Motor North America. “We want to extend the freedom of mobility for all, no matter their circumstance, location or ability.”

“Toyota is more than just the great cars and trucks we build; we believe we have a role to play in addressing mobility challenges, including helping people with limited mobility do more,” said Doug Moore, Manager, Partner Robotics, Toyota. “We believe this project has the potential to enrich the lives of people who are blind and visually impaired.”

As part of Project BLAID, Toyota is launching an employee engagement campaign that invites team members company-wide to submit videos of common indoor landmarks. These videos will subsequently be used by Project BLAID developers to “teach” the device to better recognise these landmarks.

Visit TheToyotaEffect.com for more videos on Toyota’s work in helping improve everyday situations through use of the Toyota Production System.

Comments (16)

  1. I work with a retired university professor who last year became blind due to a traumatic eye injury. She is interest in the Toyota Blaid product. When will it be available for purchase? If it is still being tested, would she be able to be a tester?

  2. I work with & am friends with DeafBlind people. Blind hearing people can combine cane skills & guide dogs with their hearing & communication abilities with the sighted people around them. Two good friends of mine were blind first & losing their hearing really reduced their cane skills for unfamiliar surroundings. One of these friends posted about BLAID on PA’s Living Well Program of Support Service Providers FB page. She leads that program. Another good friend of mine coordinates SSPs for an 8 county region of PA through a small non profit DeafCAN. He is also an inventor & an engineer; I’d love to put you in touch with him; I think he could help beta test & guide developing BLAID in ways that would make it work better for DeafBlind people. I think BLAID is potentially even more needed by DeafBlind people. It would be great if it included a braille display & if the vibrating components could interact with the buttons, so it could also guide completely to requested destinations without needing to rely on its voice component.

  3. Beautiful example of technology for a reason. Designing for the real world is something we’ve forgotten in our haste to be disruptive.

    1. Hi Linda,
      Thank you for your post and your interest in BLAID. We are currently already in the testing phase of BLAID in the US. Many thanks.

      1. Hi Charlotte,

        I live in Washington DC and very interested in BLAID. Are you doing beta testing in specific city or people from all US can participate. Can you please provide link to register for it.

        thanks

        Anurag

  4. Hi all,

    nice to see, that Toyota is involved in navigation for blind and visually impaired people. I will follow your development and perhhaps we have the possibility to work together in future.

    We develope in- and outdoor navigation for blind and visually people with foundation projects not as a company

    Best regards from Germany

    Joern Peters

    1. Hi Suzy,
      Thank you for your post and thank you for your interest in BLAID. BLAID is currently a US initiative with testing commencing in the US. At present there are no plans for testing in the UK, however please stay tuned to our blog for upcoming news and opportunities. Many thanks.

  5. Project Blaid looks to be a promising advancement for the B/VIP community. Please remember to include blind/visually impaired veterans in your beta testing. Thank you Toyota!

  6. Looks like a potentially great advancement in mobility for the B/VIP community. Please remember to include B/VIP vets in your beta testing. Thank you Toyota.

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