Braille Nails allows visually impaired people to read the world around them, simply by pointing and listening.

About a year ago Shiseido came to us with an amazing opportunity: to explore the innovative ways technology and fashion can intersect to enhance the lives of the visually impaired.

Braille Nails was developed to allow people to explore their environment and explore everything that lies beyond the reach of their cane by simply pointing and listening. Our prototyped camera badge runs off Google’s Cloud Platform using a custom trained TensorFlow model as the image analysis engine and a text to speech API. The tactile nail designs simply act as a marker to trigger the badge, which then captures the image around your nail to analyze and identify landmarks, objects, faces, text and signs to describe entire environments in detail and then speak them back to the wearer.

We can also train the badge to recognize certain hand gestures to trigger additional functionality and pull in information from various other Google API’s like Maps, Weather or Google’s Knowledge Graph. That means for instance someone interested in music could signal using an appropriate gesture and the badge can use their current location to search for music stores, venues or events nearby. Or if you particularly like the park or cafe you’re in, give the badge a thumbs up and it can star the location straight into Google Maps for you to find in the future.

This is an ongoing project that Google and Shiseido aim to develop into a consumer-ready product in the near future.




May, 2018

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