Thursday, July 7, 2011

Bionic glasses for poor vision

July 6, 2011

Bionic glasses using video cameras, position detectors, facial recognition and tracking software, and depth sensors have been developed by Oxford University researchers.

“We want to be able to enhance vision in those who’ve lost it or who have little left or almost none,” explains Dr Stephen Hicks of the Department of Clinical Neurology at Oxford University. “The glasses should allow people to be more independent — finding their own directions and signposts, and spotting warning signals,” he says.

The glasses would be appropriate for common types of visual impairment, such as age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. (NHS Choices estimates around 30% of people who are over 75 have early signs of age-related macular degeneration, and about 7% have more advanced forms.)

The researchers plan to convert newspaper headlines using optical character recognition into audible words. Barcode and price tag readers could also be useful additions, the researchers said.

The bionic glasses are being exhibited at this year’s Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition.


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