Oxford based Australian neurologist and researcher, Stephen Hicks has taken top honours at the UK’s version of the Google Impact Challenge, claiming the people’s choice award for his smart glasses for the legally blind.
A joint project between the University of Oxford and the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), as winner it receives a £500,000 grant
The Royal National Institute of Blind People announced in a press statement that the prize money will be applied towards creating 100 pairs of smart glasses and testing them with 1000 people, with the aim of making them cheaper and more accessible.
“These incredible glasses will transform the way blind and partially sighted people go about their everyday lives,” said the statement
“This will be the first large-scale test of smart glasses and augmented reality for sight enhancement anywhere in the world.
“It’s the first step towards getting the glasses made available to everyone who needs them.”
Adding to the success of this pioneering product Google will also help fund this new technology for those with visual disabilities.
Speaking from his home former judge for the Impact Challenge, and founder of Virgin, Richard Branson said about the Smart Glasses, “[this] can drive massive, global change that can transform the lives of millions of vulnerable people and species the world over”.
Along with the UK competition, five other countries recognize innovation by non-profit organisations including Australia which will announce its finalists in October.
Hicks’s award comes on the back of his glasses winning the Brian Mercer Innovation prize, worth £50,000, organised last year by the Royal Society.
Photo: Dr Stephen Hicks with his award winning ‘smart’ glasses for blind people: (Oxford University).