The Blindsight Story

We are computer vision experts and we are building software that helps people read!

Our aim is:

  • to be the de facto standard core text-capture engine inside every mobile device and all the vast image/video databases
  • to build the best real-time, on-board computer vision apps for mobile devices and wearables

… and here is our story.

How it all began

All of this began with the desire to make a difference. Mark Nitzberg and Alan Yuille embarked their mission over 20 years ago and that mission was to use computer vision to help the visually impaired. Ideas such as recognizing text and even face recognition were entertained with text detection being laid out first.

In 1996, the development of a handheld device that could read text from an LED display showed that Optical Character Recognition (OCR) could be used in this way. However, the device dropped ¾ of the text due to the need for more processing power. The National Eye Institute said that the success of such a device would be patently impossible, but Mark and Alan did not give up.

showing the first computer based sign finder, the first contstruction helmet based smart telescope and the first Sight-On-Call prototype

An iPhone is pointed at text and the application detects the text

Here and now

Years later, the iPhone and iPad would pave the way for applications to be created that could do amazing things. The chipsets were mature enough and became the platform of choice because of accessibility and use among the blind.

This led to the development of Text Detective. The phone’s camera is aimed at printed text and that text is read back to the user. Add in Perkolator, which is a MacOS-based Perkins Keyboard that can make communication through text much easier for the blind and allow them to solidify their Braille skills, and the visually impaired is one step closer to being able to contribute more to the world.

The road ahead

Over the past 2 ½ years, we have taken great strides by expanding into distributed assistance services and also partnering with prominent institutions within the U.S.

Blindsight is also actively expanding into Europe where the visually impaired and aging population there can also take advantage of the ways in which Blindsight can improve quality of life.

This expansion into Europe adds to the millions of individuals that Blindsight has already been working to help in the United States. These are individuals who have reduced independence due to mobility issues caused by aging or vision loss. By developing tools to increase independence, individuals can rely less on assisted living or in-home care. They can also rely less on loved ones who already have busy schedules of their own.