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Newsletter November 2014


Greek Teen Creates Smartglasses Prototype

One of the most important outcomes of technology advances is assistance for people with limited vision, hearing, speech or mobility.

Greece’s technology startups have been recognised for developing assistive technologies and it appears a new product may be headed for the market soon, developed by a 17-year old.

Greek teenager Angelos Getsis was awarded in the Google Science Fair 2014 for creating a pair of smartglasses that can help blind people navigate in urban spaces.

The 17-year-old from the city of Arta, Greece, said that the glasses can replace the cane used by the blind.

Angelos received the first prize in the Greek part of the Google competition and his invention was also voted one of the six best projects presented in Europe and one of the 32 best worldwide.

The smartglasses are still in the prototype stage. They operate with a battery and have an on/off switch. The young Getsis wrote the code using programming software and then transferred it to the glasses. He installed a vibration motor, and not a sound system, in order not to interfere with the blind person’s hearing. Every time an obstacle is in the user’s way, the glasses vibrate.

The smartglasses are made of a microprocessor, an ultrasonic proximity sensor and another sensor that detects the position of the user’s head so the glasses “understand” what is in the user’s path.

The Greek teenager hopes that his invention can help people with visual impairment. He realised that with a few adjustments, the sensors used in robots for environmental perception could be also be used in special glasses to help the blind navigate.

Microsoft Supports the Greek Economy
Don Grantham, president of Microsoft Central and Eastern Europe region, recently met with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and reiterated Microsoft’s commitment to supporting the Greek economy and its people and to contribute to the country’s recovery efforts. Mr. Grantham added that Microsoft will provide material to enhance a skills training programme for the unemployed. With more than 400 courses on information technology and entrepreneurship, this e-skills initiative aims to help 500,000 individuals over the next three years, resulting in reintegration into the labour market. The Greek government stated that Microsoft’s ongoing commitment to the country acts as a vote of confidence for the Greek market. Microsoft has a wide local network of associates—1,900 Greek companies—and its Innovation Centre supports over 200 startups and more than 2,000 young scientists with new technologies and advice, through practical programmes for entrepreneurship and innovation.