It’s a little known fact that over 4 million Australians have some sort of disability, so today I’m excited to be writing about two prototype apps that we’ve developed (and have recently trialed with two Telstra employees) to show what’s possible using the emerging technology of Google Glass to support those who are vision or hearing impaired.

We began this journey last year when we were approached by one of our partners, b2cloud, who were one of the first to get their hands on this exciting technology via the Google Glass Explorer program.

The Telstra brand has always played two important roles. Firstly, a leadership role to show our customers and the community how emerging technologies can enrich their lives in relevant ways. The second is based on our belief that connection is a human right, which is strongly demonstrated with the huge amount of investment we put into communities through a multitude of initiatives.

So with this in mind, and the opportunity in front of us, we talked at length about what we should develop to showcase wearable tech in the future. We quickly reached an exciting consensus that we should see what could be done to help those with a disability.

From this, the idea for two apps was born. The vision impaired app works by enabling users to receive audio descriptions from Google Glass describing objects in front of them. The hearing impaired app works by the phone or a laptop recognising and transcribing speech and then showing it on the Google Glass display. This allows the user to be able to have a natural face to face conversation, in a meeting for example, without needing to lip read or have their head down referring to a device.

We trailed these apps with two of our employees, Kelly Schulz and Peter Miller, who were excited about the opportunity and saw big potential for apps like these in the hearing and vision impaired communities and you can watch their story in the video below.

These apps have been developed to see what could be done with technology to make the lives of hearing and vision impaired people a little easier. While Google Glass isn’t publicly available in Australia as yet, we hope that the work we’ve done will inspire others to see what else can be achieved via this exciting technology.

We’ve also investigated the use of wearable technology in other areas too with our Send and See initiative, our AFL Glass app and in our vision for a connected future.

For our customers, we have a range of products and services across the following categories: Hearing, Speech, Vision, Mobility and Dexterity. Our Disability Equipment Program provides eligible customers with specialised equipment to access the standard telephone service at no additional cost to standard phone handset rental.

We also support those who work at Telstra with our commitment to diversity and inclusion.