In another advance for the independence of blind people, the American Printing House for the Blind has announced a prototype of a facial recognition system that will warn users of the approach of obnoxious persons. The system consists of glasses embedded with a tiny camera, a belt-worn processing unit, and an earpiece. The system will recognize the faces of people preprogrammed into the unit and will use synthetic speech to warn the blind user of their approach.
"We continue to work on leveling the playing field," said an APH spokesman. "Sighted people have the advantage of being able to dodge overbearing relatives, endlessly chatty landlords, and neighbors trying to invite them to sales parties for products they don't need. We hope soon that blind folks will have the same freedom."
A planned second-generation prototype will be able to use artificial intelligence to recognize obnoxious persons automatically, without requiring pre-programming. Algorithms are being developed to recognize such persons as bad-joke-telling bosses, pushy sales people, and that guy who just won't take no for an answer.
There is no word when the unit might be commercially available.