These Panasonic smart glasses could 'change your life'

man wearing the panasonic biel smart glasses for the visually impaired
(Image credit: Panasonic / Biel)

Life for the visually impaired poses incredible challenges, but today we possess incredible technology that enables us to overcome them like never before. And a new pair of smart glasses could very well change the lives of those who suffer from impaired vision.

Global technology giant Panasonic has partnered with Barcelona-based start-up, Biel, and at CES 2023 the two companies unveiled a pair of 'life-changing' smart glasses for aiding in mobility for visually impaired individuals.

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The joint venture harnesses Panasonic's imaging innovation, in the form of its 5.2K HDR-capable VR goggles, and combines it with Biel Glasses' artificial intelligence technology for users with low vision capabilities.

The aim of the technology is to help reduce mobility issues caused by impaired vision, specifically peripheral vision loss – which is known to many people as tunnel vision – that affects sufferers of conditions including glaucoma and retinitis pigmentosa.

This infographic shows, broadly, the principles of the technology (Image credit: Panasonic)

Could these glasses be a viable replacement for assistance animals?  (Image credit: Panasonic)

The new smart glasses enable users to receive feedback about obstacles and other hazards, using the latest in AI and robotics technologies developed by Biel Glasses, allowing visually impaired users to move around safely, independently, and with more confidence.

Biel Glasses is a start-up founded in Barcelona in 2017, by a doctor and engineer, and named for their son Biel, who was born with low vision. It has been working on AI and robotics solutions for people affected by vision problems, and this is the first time it has partnered with a major hardware company to bring its technology into the hands of users.

Biel Glasses' cameras and sensors can detect hazards, such as obstacles, steps, and holes, all in real-time. The glasses then relay these messages back to the user on the inbuilt μOLED display panels using graphical indications that have been adapted to the individual user's specific condition and needs for their remaining vision including zoom, adaptation to lighting, and contrast enhancement. 

It is very interesting to see Panasonic working on technology around smart wearables, AR, and VR. We hope that these glasses aren't the last wearable creation that comes out of Panasonic's R&D department, and we're very excited to see what the manufacturer is working on next as VR adoption starts to really ramp up.

Check out all the latest announcements from CES 2023 here. 

For more on Panasonic, read our guides to the best Pansonic camera, the best micro four-thirds lenses, and the best L-Mount lenses.

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Gareth Bevan
Reviews Editor

Gareth is a photographer based in London, working as a freelance photographer and videographer for the past several years, having the privilege to shoot for some household names. With work focusing on fashion, portrait and lifestyle content creation, he has developed a range of skills covering everything from editorial shoots to social media videos. Outside of work, he has a personal passion for travel and nature photography, with a devotion to sustainability and environmental causes.

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