Thursday, August 31

'Augmented reality' glasses tackle tunnel vision

Here's my latest article, in New Scientist:

Superimposing computer-generated images over real scenes can dramatically improve the way people with visual impairment use their sight, say US researchers.

That conclusion is the result of tests of a so-called augmented-reality system on patients with tunnel vision, a condition which narrows a person’s field of view.

The conventional way of helping people with tunnel vision is to use lenses that compress a wide angle image into the subject’s restricted field of view. This technique makes it difficult to pick out fine details, however, and also makes objects appear further away. As this approach can be hard to adjust to, it has not been embraced.

Instead, Eli Peli, an ophthalmologist and bioengineer at Harvard Medical School in Boston, has invented a device that provides augmented vision. (Peli is pictured at left, wearing his invention.) "It puts a cartoon on top of a person's regular view," Peli explains. The system sketches out what the wider field of view looks like and superimposes that on the person’s usual view.

Read more about it on the New Scientist site...

Click on the image at left to zoom in, to see the tiny cartoon image displayed on the surface of the glasses....

Or download a video showing what users see here (12 MB Quicktime movie). You can also get an AVI file of this movie, or get another movie showing off the device, on Peli's website.


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