This Backpack Uses Artificial Intelligence and Cameras to Help Visually Impaired People Navigate the World


You know how much we love showing off the latest in cutting-edge camera technology, and today’s article is no exception. In fact, this development could prove world-changing for some people – and in quite a literal sense.

Photo by Negative Space from Pexels.

Artificial intelligence (AI) developer Jagadish K. Mahendran and his team have developed a backpack containing cameras powered by AI that can help the wearer navigate the world around them. Envisioned as an aide for visually impaired people, the backpack communicates the user’s surroundings via a Bluetooth headset that interprets what the cameras are seeing.

As the press release for the device explains, this system goes much further and deeper in its understandings of a wearer’s surroundings than some of the systems available today that rely upon GPS. The Luxonis OAK-D spatial AI camera can be worn on either the vest or on a belt. The OAK-D spatial AI camera uses Intel Movidius VPU and the company’s Distribution of OpenVINO toolkit “for on-chip edge AI inferencing.”

“[The system] is capable of running advanced neural networks while providing accelerated computer vision functions and a real-time depth map from its stereo pair, as well as color information from a single 4k camera,” the press release explains.

The team behind the backpack explains: “The system is housed inside a small backpack containing a host computing unit, such as a laptop. A vest jacket conceals a camera, and a fanny pack is used to hold a pocket-size battery pack capable of providing approximately eight hours of use. A Luxonis OAK-D spatial AI camera can be affixed to either the vest or fanny pack, then connected to the computing unit in the backpack. Three tiny holes in the vest provide viewports for the OAK-D, which is attached to the inside of the vest.”

You can view the device at this link. You can also view a video of it in action over on YouTube.

Founder and chief executive officer of Luxonis, Brandon Gilles, said of the team, “Our mission at Luxonis is to enable engineers to build things that matter while helping them to quickly harness the power of Intel AI technology…So, it is incredibly satisfying to see something as valuable and remarkable as the AI-powered backpack built using OAK-D in such a short period of time.”

What does the future for cameras and advanced AI look like in your opinion? Let us know your thoughts on this developing field in the comments below.

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Kehl is our staff photography news writer since 2017 and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here and follow him on Insta.

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