Technology

Microsoft working on Alice-band device to help blind

Future Cities Catapult concept video Image copyright Other
Image caption A concept video demonstrated how tags could be used to help blind people navigate

Microsoft has been working on a device like an Alice band that could help blind people "see" things around them.

The smart headband has been piloted by a group of eight blind people in Reading, the Sunday Times reported.

The device gives related information, through an earpiece, when the wearer looks at objects of interest.

Microsoft is not sharing any further information about the project, which has been compared to Google Glass, the search giant's smart glasses product.

However, the BBC understands that Microsoft does not see its Alice band as a competitor to Google's effort.

More information on the device is expected to be revealed in the next few months.

A concept video released in 2012 outlined some of features believed to be in the product.

It has been developed as part of Cities Unlocked, a joint initiative between Microsoft, Guide Dogs and the Future Cities Catapult, a government-backed initiative looking at developing "smart" city technology.

A spokesman for Cities Unlocked said: "We are working together to explore new ideas, approaches and technologies for people living with sight loss to engage in the community and the environment they live in.

"We look forward to sharing more details of the project later this year."

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