“SMART” glasses being developed by Oxford University could prove life-changing for blind people.

The specs are being trialled in public spaces for the first time and were used by two people in Oxford’s Covered Market last week.

Iain Cairns and Lyn Oliver were some of the first people to use the glasses which help people with limited vision navigate and avoid walking into obstacles.

The glasses are being developed at the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences at Oxford University.

They consist of a video camera on the frame, a computer processing unit, and software which provides simple images of nearby people and obstacles, such as kerbs, tables and chairs.

Lead researcher Dr Stephen Hicks said: “The idea is to give people with poor vision an aid that boosts their awareness of what’s around them – allowing greater freedom, independence and confidence to get about, and a much improved quality of life.”

Mr Cairns, 43, who has an inherited eye condition, said: “What I can see with them on is a bit like having a superpower – or it looks like what the hobbit in The Lord of the Rings can see when he puts the ring on.”

The research team hope the eventual design of the glasses will look little different from a normal pair.

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