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Project Lighthouse: A post-mortem

A few weeks ago, Mozilla pulled the plug on its Connected Devices Experiment: a bunch of internal non-profit hardware-related startups. One of our main objectives was to determine if we could come up with designs that could help turn the tide against the spyware-riddled and gruyère-level security devices that are currently being offered (or pushed) to unwary users. One of the startups was Project Lighthouse. We tried to provide an affordable, simple and privacy-friendly tool for people suffering from vision impairment and who needed help in their daily life.

Extracting text from images is not easy (who would have guessed?)

At its core, Lighthouse is an idea we have been discussing in Connected Devices: can we build a device that will help people with partial or total vision disabilities? From there, we started a number of experiments. I figured out it was time to braindump some of them. Our problem Consider the following example: How do we get from this beautiful picture of Mozilla’s Paris office to the text “PRIDE and PREJUDICE”, “Jane Austen”, “Great Books”, “Great Prices”, “$9.