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One Poland Nonprofit Is Working On 3D-Printed Smart Glasses For The Visually Impaired

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In a world of smartphones, smart TVs and smart headphones, there are now smart glasses on the horizon.

Poland-based Parsee, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping the blind and visually impaired, have made plans to give away free smart glasses. As Reuters initially reported on May 13, the goal is to help the visually impaired identify everything from shapes to colors, all through an app and wearable device.

Users who are wearing the glasses can press a button on the frame to take a picture of the object in front of them. From there, the glasses' app identifies the object and sends details back to the frame, which has an earphone for audio. Parsee Project Manager Bartosz Trzcinski told the news source that it could help with everything from reading newspapers to drinking juice.

Although the glasses are still in the early development stage, the nonprofit is eventually eyeing mass production and free distribution. The glasses themselves are battery-powered and have a 3D-printed frame. At the moment, the cost of producing one pair is $300. However, Parsee is looking to reduce this amount over time.

Over in Britain, the Royal National Institute of Blind People is already working on its own smart glasses for the visually impaired. Similarly, the product would identify shapes and objects, and it could do so from up to three meters away. Eventually, the RNIB hopes to retail its smart glasses for approximately $433 (or 300 pounds).

Of course, there are already a number of smart glasses on the market for those who specifically need advanced tech, as opposed to enhanced visual capabilities. The Vuzix M100 Smart Glasses, for example, are being advertised as the "world's first commercially available smart glasses." This particular product is being marketed to professionals in telemedicine, remote assistance, warehousing and manufacturing. The glasses can pair with Android devices via Bluetooth and provide everything from GPS data to cellular radio. The Vuzix M100 Smart Glasses retail for $999.99.

In 2015, the number of shipments of smart glasses were forecasted to reach approximately 10.6 million units. The global wearables market is expected to reach a value of $19 billion by 2018.

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