What are smart glasses and wearable technology?

Wearable technology, or smart glasses, come in different forms. Some wearable devices are built into a visor, some are built into electronic spectacles and some have a clip-on camera that attaches to spectacles or a head strap.

Some of the visor style systems offer a wider field of view to people who have peripheral vision loss but most are not intended to be used while moving around. They are supposed to be taken off when moving and only put on while you are stationery, or while being guided or driven around in a vehicle by someone else. However, they can be used to gain information about your surroundings when stationary which may help you to make choices about where to go in a room or outdoor location.

There are different levels of wearable technology. Magnifying devices are used for magnifying text and objects and enhancing remaining useful vision. Another type of wearable technology is purely a talking device and therefore aimed at people with very little or no useful vision. Dual purpose devices can both magnify and read text using Optical Character Recognition to provide spoken information.

All of these devices are expensive and the technology is new and evolving all the time. It is important to trial any wearable technology to make sure it is suitable for you and what you want to use it for.

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