Assisted Vision: sight enhancement for the partially sighted

Dr Stephen Hicks is a Research Fellow in neuroscience and visual prosthetics at the University of Oxford. He and his team are working on a project to develop a pair of glasses to help partially [grow_thumb image=”” thumb_width=”150″ /]sighted people “see” what is in front of them.

BBC’s Johny Cassidy spoke to Hicks recently about the Oxford smart specs project for BBC’s In Touch programme. The project uses Augmented Reality (AR) to make objects in the field of vision sharper for partially sighted people. Hicks says the object is to “try to make a pair of glasses which look relatively normal to people in the environment and still provides a computer based object enhancement and object detection that would be able to be seen by people with very, very limited sight”.

The glasses use two cameras, a gyroscope, a compass and a GPS unit. The “lenses” are made of transparent OLED displays enabling the wearer to see through with any available sight and also allowing others to see the user’s eyes.

“The next step in terms of commercial development is to reduce the size of the glasses and the processing unit into something acceptable to people in day to day life”, says Hicks. The “take-home” versions are targeted to be built in autumn this year.

How much is it likely to cost? A stated goal of the project is to keep the costs down so that the maximum number of people as possible will have access to these glasses. So where possible off-the-shelf components are being used. Hicks says that a pair of glasses for less than £300 is possible compared to just under US$10,000 for the only other one that Johny Cassidy had been able to find. Google Glass, Epson Moverio and similar glasses are, of course, not functionally comparable.

11th Wearable Technologies Conference 2014 I Europe

27-28 January 2014, International Congress Center, Munich, Germany

The 11th Wearable Technologies Conference is the leading event to experience the most comprehensive line-up of technology innovations, discuss the latest trends, and meet doers and makers, thought leaders and innovators, as well as groundbreaking start-ups in this area. Featuring smart watches and smart glasses projects, and the industry giants Samsung, Sony and ST Microelectronics, the 11th Wearable Technologies Conference Europe gives you the chance to get in-depth insights into the future of lifestyle, sports, and health devices and other application fields for wearable technologies. Another highlight is the award ceremony of the Wearable Technologies Innovation World Cup on Jan. 27, 2014, where the finalists will present their solutions, and the “WT Innovator of the year” will be announced. Website. SpeakersRegistration.