(Reuters) – Fund-raising has begun for what developers say will be the world’s first free smart glasses to help the blind and visually impaired. Edward Baran reports.

Fund-raising has begun for what developers say will be the world’s first free smart glasses to help the blind and visually impaired.

A vision of the future — these could become the world’s first free smart glasses, says the Polish non-profit organisation behind them.

Parsee has developed this prototype of battery-powered glasses with a 3D printed frame, camera and earphone.

SPARSEE PROJECT MANAGER, BARTOSZ TRZCINSKI:

“Parsee is an innovative 3D printed glasses for blind and visually impaired people. It helps them in their everyday living like reading newspapers, drinking juice.”

Pushing a button on the frame, users take pictures of an object in front of them, which the camera sends to a phone app.

The app identifies shapes, colours, text and even faces — and sends the detail via audio to the earphone.

TERESA LAPA, USER OF PROTOTYPE GLASSES:

“When I take something from the fridge what I see is blurred – this helps me to recognize the product and read what is written on it. It also helps me to recognize my friends’ faces, because I have a problem with that.”

Parsee has begun fund-raising with a $25,000 goal to research and develop a sleeker model of the glasses.

It’s still in the early stages of its longer-term goal to mass produce and distribute the spectacles for free.

The current cost of producing one pair is $300 — a figure they aim to reduce over time.