Samsung Electronics Co. has launched Relúmĭno, a visual aid app that uses augmented reality to help people with visual impairment read books and watch TV.
The South Korean tech giant said on Sunday that Relúmĭno works in conjunction with Gear VR, Samsung’s virtual reality headset, and its Galaxy S7 and S8 series. It processes images taken from a smartphone’s rear camera and refines them for people with low vision, according to the company. It also resizes a picture by magnifying or minimizing it, adjusts color contrast and brightness of an image, and even rearranges images for visually challenged to view objects.
“Relúmĭno will be the life-changer for 240 million of the visually impaired people around the world and we promise a firm and continuing support,” said Lee Jai-il Lee, vice president and head of Creativity & Innovation Center at Samsung Electronics.
The idea to develop the visual aid app came from the finding that only 14 percent of visually impaired people in Korea are completely blind and the remaining 86 percent have the abilities to detect light or distinguish brightness and darkness, explained a Samsung Electronics official, adding that 71 percent of visually challenged use smartphones.
There already are many visual aid devices available in the market, but they often cost thousands of dollars. Compared with them, Relúmĭno will allow its users to enjoy the same level of features using a smartphone and VR device at a more affordable cost, said the official. Users of Galaxy S7 and S8 series smartphones can download Relúmĭno for free in the Oculus Store.
Meaning ‘light up again’ in Latin, Relúmĭno was created by a team of three Samsung Electronics’ engineers who have joined the company’s in-house startup incubating C-Lab program, according to the company.
The Relúmĭno developers previously showcased the visual aid app at the 2017 Mobile World Congress (MWC) held in Barcelona, Spain in February, and they plan to develop glasses-like visual aid product that would be lighter and easier to wear.
Shares of Samsung Electronics closed Monday at 2,342,000 won ($2,059.19), down 3,000 won or 0.13 percent from the previous session.
By Lee Dong-in
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