Blind people's use of AI technology (BlindTech)

Technological and digital development has led to a number of new AI products on the market. These have great potential for people with disabilities because they rely more on (technological) aids than the general population. Especially the development of computer vision and natural language processing (NLP) are two areas of AI that are very promising for people with visual impairment or blindness. Therefore, BlindTech examines how people with visual impairment or blindness actually use AI in everyday practice such as smartphones with AI-based apps and smart speaker systems such as Google Home Assistant. This research is based on detailed video ethnographic methods closely following and studying blind and visually impaired people (BVIP) in their everyday lives using these technologies. 

There are about 65,000 BVIPs in Denmark. Their disability makes it more difficult for them to participate in social activities because they have difficulties coming from A to B and have a harder time engaging in social interaction, partly because they cannot see all the nonverbal communication signals. Based on the empirical studies of technological lead users, the aim is to build a model for how the technologies can best be used. The model will include training materials to be used by vision professionals in their counselling of the BVIP.

Blindtech is the first in the world to investigate BVIP’s use of AI in spatial and social environments by studying their naturally occurring everyday practices for achieving inclusion in society.










This research supports the development of new methods, theories, models and initiatives based on video ethnographic research into existing practices of using AI-solutions in smartphones and digital assistants like Google Home among BVIP. It aims at helping to realize both human and socio-economic potential as AI-solutions may lead to a more independent and meaningful everyday life for BVIP and possible better integration on the labour market.

But we need a more robust knowledge base before we can say just how this is the case and henceforth just how vision professionals may advice and help BVIP with regards to the optimal use of the new technologies. The knowledge creation established in BlindTech have direct practical value as it is turned into solutions that are useful in everyday life. Through the close collaboration with IBOS and representatives from the practice advisory board questions are identified and explored and a solution model established. The generated knowledge will thus lead to effective methods and initiatives that will be rolled out by IBOS and made part of their organizational services.











The project is funded with 5.1 mio. kr. by the Velux Foundations.

Project number: 27805

Project period: 2020-2023.

PI: Associate professor Brian Due


The research is conducted in close collaboration with the Institute for the Blind and Partially Sighted (IBOS)


Name Title Phone E-mail
Due, Brian Lystgaard Associate Professor - Promotion Programme +4535335929 E-mail
Nielsen, Ann Merrit Rikke Assistant Professor +4535337181 E-mail

Other staff

Special consultant Rikke Fogh Jørgensen will work in the project in for 18 months, primarily with responsibility for development of training material.

ICT consultant Birgit Christensen is employed in the project for 2 months. She has expertise in new technologies.