so one of the trends in tech right now besides machine learning and artificial intelligence seems to be augmented reality and virtual reality. i've read some articles lately that seem to suggest that the future of mobile computing will be to wear some type of augmented reality glasses and that smartphones will become irrelevant. of course this is just speculation and no one knows what the future holds. but i fear that blind people might not get to take advantage of virtual or augmented reality unless you have some vision or unless VoiceOver or siri or TalkBack or google assistant can be built in. anyway, these are just my thoughts. what do you guys think? do you think phones will become obsolete? what do you think of apple getting into augmented reality? do you think it can help people whoo are blind or visually impaired? i'm all for it if there's a way it can be adapted for people with disabilities. but what do you guys think? i'm afraid of augmented reality and fascinated by it at the same time.
By molly, 13 June, 2017
I'm no tech expert but I'll drop my opinion anyway.
Given the fact that new iPhones are released every year, I very much doubt it.
Short answer, maybe
I don't see phones being replaced by AR any time soon. Work still needs to be done for AR to be a viable alternative to a physical device. As for its usefulness to blind and vision impaired users, the main focus of the tech media is on the visual aspect of AR, but AR could involve audible elements, and theoretically even tactile elements.
For a low vision user, even if AR in its strictest sense (simulated elements that blend seamlessly into visuals from the real world) might not necessarily be directly useful, the computer vision algorithms and technology needed to make it work well could help low vision users. For example, I could easily imagine it being possible to implement smart enhancements or overlays of a live camera feed for a low vision user to help them make the most of what sight they have.
hopefully if augmented
hopefully if augmented reality does reach wide spread adoption companies will have found a way to make it work for everyone. even Andy rubin, the creator of android said that he doesn't think augmented reality is going to be something we'll be immersed in all day long. that we might use it to play a game. so who knows what will happen? hopefully we'll still have some type of device to communicate with.
Could be something else
I read this futuristic fantasy book called Feed where this computer was built into their heads. They could send messages and research stuff just by thinking about it. When the main character's little brother got angry he blasted commercials all over the house that the main character walked into one. So who knows what the future will hold. However it will have to have some sort of audio output for music videos and so on. About 18 years ago smart phones weren't even a thing so anything could happen really. Let's just hope it’s accessible.
All this talk about augmented virtual reality makes me think of a great quote from a Styx song. It goes thus:
The problem's plain to see,
Too much technology.
Machines do save our lives,
I've always loved that lyric.
We Have the Power
Whatever advances occur in technology, we have the power and wisdom to suggest accessibility input. It doesn't have to be a case of some entity "out there" determining whether or not something is accessible. i'm sure blind folks had a huge input in accessibility developments for the things we take for granted, such as NVDA, Voiceover, on-screen Braille keyboards, and OCR software. There are blind folks working for major companies to ensure accessibility of products. So I'm not really worried about it. In fact, I'm sure auditory feedback is already a major aspect of AR, and will continue to be.