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9 December 2013, 11:32
Tenor Andrea Bocelli's charity foundation has donated a sum of around $500,000 to aid MIT in researching new technology products for the blind.
Coming under the label of 'The Fifth Sense Project', the research will focus on the development of new products designed to aid those afflicted by blindness, including technologies like jackets and watches that can recognise faces.
Bocelli himself attended workshops held at MIT over the weekend, which included a debate between Italian and MIT researchers on the ways neuroscientists and computer scientists are attempting to develop innovative technologies for the visually impaired.
The singer commented: "There are many people, some of them my friends, that are living alone in a city, and they have the issue of going to work on their own, going grocery shopping, locating the items on the shelves… The issue is really living on one's own."
"This technology will be helpful first for people who are on their own, but then it will come in handy for people like me, who want to be on their own some times."
Among the products discussed at the event were a jacket with a built-in discreet camera that can recognise not only faces of people that approach the wearer, but also the body language and what they're wearing.
Other ideas include watches and other apparel that can recognise surroundings for basically mobility issues like tripping hazards and possible collisions when navigating busy areas.