Thursday, 17 July 2014

SmartGlasses - the answer for the visually impaired?

The BBC's Johnny Cassidy spoke to Dr Stephen Hicks (Oxford University) about his latest innovative research project - SmartGlasses. 

SmartGlasses don't aim to improve sight clinically but aim to improve independence and make the most of what vision remains.The glasses are not for people who are completely blind, but for those who have some sight remaining that can be used to focus or detect brightness.

One individual with 5% vision, no night vision and a narrow field tested the SmartGlasses. he wanted to get out more and go rock climbing. He described how it felt to wear the glasses... slightly high on the temples, surprisingly light once wearing them (especially as they appear a bit bulky). The man started picking some details, then objects at a distance and then the Dr's face. The lines of the Drs face he described as pushing it "to the front of my vision and everything else is background... it's a 3D image...I'm sold..."

The next step is to develop SmartGlasses that are smaller in size, more acceptable in day to day life, hopefully in August this year (2014). The aim is to make the StartGlasses available for a few hundred pounds.

For more information you can listen to the interview on last weeks BBC Radio 4's In Touch.

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