Technology February 19, 2020
Tata Elxsi’s wearable device for people with autism & Alzheimer’s wins top award
The iF Design Award for 2020 has been given to global design company Tata Elxsi for its Mixed Reality (MR) Based Smart Assistive Wearable Devices. These are devices that enable people with disabilities like autism and Alzheimer’s disease handle social situations.
Global design company Tata Elxsi has won this year’s iF Design Award. This is an internationally recognised award for design excellence and Tata Elxsi has won it for its Mixed Reality (MR) Based Smart Assistive Wearable Devices.
Devices help disabled people handle social situations
These devices help people with disabilities like autism or Alzheimer’s disease handle social situations, which they might find difficult. The system is discreet and uses audio in a manner that others in the social environment are not so aware of the support being provided. The device can help with things like helping to recognise a person whose name the user may have forgotten, or calm the user in stressful situations through music.
The devices use Mixed Reality by taking information from input devices like discrete wearable cameras that help drive facial and environment recognition and microphones. The information is then fed back to the user through earphones or ear buds and sound collars. These devices enable users to participate in social interactions by giving them guides in the form of audio cues.
Active support offered subtly
Speaking to the media, Jack Quarmby, Designer at Tata Elxsi London Studio said, “We were interested in MR solutions that did not require headsets or visual feedback, which we believe may not be appropriate for everyone. A combination of ‘natural vision’ for environment perception, combined with augmented audio seemed to open up interesting use cases. Seeing this as an opportunity, we designed an innovative solution, which is less intrusive than an obvious ‘wearable’ and yet has potential to be chic, smart and desirable”. The devices use face and environment recognition cameras which are designed in a manner to empower users by offering support in an active but understated way.
“Getting recognised globally for our work is really rewarding”, said Nick Talbot, Head of Design & Innovation at Tata Elxsi. “For these MR based Smart Assistive devices, we see real-world application opportunities in healthcare, social care, augmented retail experiences, entertainment through audio gaming, and others that would be interest to service providers and solution providers in these segments.”
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