PhD Student | Software Consultant


Photo of Lee Stearns

I am a PhD candidate and graduate research assistant at the University of Maryland, College Park. My research focus lies at the intersection of multiple disciplines, developing wearable assistive technology to aid people with visual impairments. I have completed my graduate coursework and am currently in the process of preparing my dissertation proposal: developing and testing a wearable camera system that augments the sense of touch to assist people with visual impairments in their daily lives. My co-advisors are Professors Rama Chellappa and Jon Froehlich.

I also provide consulting services for software and web development when my research schedule permits. I have designed and built utilities to process and visualize medical image data, as well as mobile and web applications to assist professional and amateur shooters in calculating ballistics while using a client's custom rifle scope.

Download My C.V.


The HandSight Prototype, Version 3


The broad goal of the HandSight project is to develop a wearable system that can augment the sense of touch to assist people with visual impairments in performing a wide variety of daily tasks. For example, we have investigated ways to enable touch-based access to printed text, colors and textures, or to use touch gestures on the surface of the body to control a mobile device. The key element of our platform is a small camera that is mounted on the finger, alongside other sensors and haptic feedback mounted on the fingers or wrist. So far we have published four papers about our research (see Publications), but the project is still active we expect to publish more in the near future.

HandSight in the News:

  • New Scientist: Tiny fingertip camera helps blind people read without braille | link
  • PC Magazine: Fingertip Camera Reads to the Blind | link
  • Futurism: This New Tech Is Letting Blind People Read Without Braille | link
  • PSFK: Fingertip Cameras May Help The Blind Read Without Braille | link


My research group is large and diverse. Here are a few of the professors, students, and other people with whom I have collaborated in my research:

Yumeng Wang
Ji Hyuk Bae
Bridget Cheng
Tony Cheng
Meena Sengottuvelu
Darren Smith
David Ross


I have had the privilege of mentoring several talented undergraduate and high school students as they pursued their group or independent research projects:

Alexander Medeiros
Meena Sengottuvelu
Chuan Chen
Jessica Yin
Harry Vancao
Eric Lancaster