Wearable artificial vision device shows promise in helping legally blind people 'read'

October 17, 2016

CHICAGO - Oct. 17, 2016 - A unique wearable artificial vision device may help people who are legally blind "read" and recognize faces. It may also help these individuals accomplish everyday tasks with significantly greater ease than using traditional assistive reading devices, suggests a study presented today at AAO 2016, the 120th annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Approximately 246 million people worldwide have low vision. This sight loss impairs a person's ability to do simple daily tasks. Optical and electronic devices such as hand-held magnifiers, tele-microscopic glasses and computer and video magnifiers can help. But, typically these devices are bulky, cumbersome or not readily portable. With recent advancements in wearable electronic devices and optical character recognition technology that converts images to computer-readable text, University of California, Davis researchers hypothesized that these newer technologies could help improve patients' ability to function in daily life. To test their theory, researchers asked a group of visually impaired patients to use a wearable artificial vision device to see its impact. They found that the device vastly improved patients' daily productivity.

The researchers used the Orcam My Eye for their study. The device is unique because it clips to glasses, making it hands-free. It features a miniature camera that sees and recognizes what the user is viewing, whether text or a face, and then reads what it is seeing to the user via a small bone-conduction earpiece. The user activates the device by simply pointing a finger to the object or text, tapping it or pressing a trigger button.

Researchers tested the device on 12 legally blind people, who all had a visual acuity of less than 20/200. Study participants performed a 10-item test simulating activities of daily life, including recognizing products and reading a variety of items such as emails, letters, newspapers, book and signs. They earned one point for the successful completion of each item, and a zero for each not completed. The total possible score was 10. The researchers studied the participants at three stages. First, they observed the participants doing the tasks without the device, then while wearing it after receiving a 90- to 120-minute training session and finally after wearing the device for one week.

The researchers' findings were as follows:

"While there have been many advances in eye care, the options for assistance in completing daily tasks are limited and cumbersome," said Elad Moisseiev, M.D., a vitreoretinal surgeon who was the study lead at U.C. Davis, but is now with the Tel Aviv Medical Center, Israel. "This represents a new step in the evolution of assistance devices for people with low vision, giving them hope for improving their functionality, independence and quality of life."
-end-
The pilot study was the first to evaluate the device in people with low vision, establishing its efficacy and ease of use and demonstrating the achievement of statistically significant differences in test scores, said Dr. Moisseiev. He noted that additional studies should include more people, ideally stratifying them by level of visual impairment.

A Portable Artificial Vision Device is a Useful Aid for Patients with Low Vision is being presented at AAO 2016, the 120th annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. The event is being held in conjunction with the Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology Oct. 14-18 at McCormick Place, Chicago. Known as the place "Where all of Ophthalmology Meets,"® the Academy's annual meeting is the world's largest conference for eye physicians and surgeons. For more information, see AAO 2016 highlights.

Dr. Moisseiev has no financial interest in or connection to the device company.

About the American Academy of Ophthalmology

The American Academy of Ophthalmology is the world's largest association of eye physicians and surgeons. A global community of 32,000 medical doctors, we protect sight and empower lives by setting the standards for ophthalmic education and advocating for our patients and the public. We innovate to advance our profession and to ensure the delivery of the highest-quality eye care. Our EyeSmart® program provides the public with the most trusted information about eye health. For more information, visit aao.org.

American Academy of Ophthalmology

Related Electronic Devices Articles from Brightsurf:

'Electronic skin' promises cheap and recyclable alternative to wearable devices
Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder are developing a wearable electronic device that's 'really wearable'--a stretchy and fully-recyclable circuit board that's inspired by, and sticks onto, human skin.

Tailoring 2D materials to improve electronic and optical devices
New possibilities for future developments in electronic and optical devices have been unlocked by recent advancements in two-dimensional (2D) materials, according to Penn State researchers.

Wearable IT devices: Dyeing process gives textiles electronic properties
Whether in fitness, medicine or in the entertainment industry, IT devices worn on the body, such as smart watches, are becoming increasingly popular.

Producing technicolor through brain-like electronic devices
POSTECH Professor Junsuk Rho's team develops variable structural-color filters.

Battery life for wearable electronic devices could be improved
Researchers in WMG and the Department of Physics at the University of Warwick have found that asymmetric stresses within electrodes used in certain wearable electronic devices provides an important clue as to how to improve the durability and lifespan of these batteries.

New organic material unlocks faster and more flexible electronic devices
Mobile phones and other electronic devices made from an organic material that is thin, bendable and more powerful are now a step closer thanks to new research led by scientists at The Australian University (ANU).

'One-way' electronic devices enter the mainstream
Columbia engineers are the first to build a high-performance non-reciprocal device on a compact chip with a performance 25 times better than previous work.

A new way to cool down electronic devices, recover waste heat
Using electronic devices for too long can cause them to overheat, which might slow them down, damage their components or even make them explode or catch fire.

Generation and manipulation of spin currents for advanced electronic devices
ICN2 researchers, in the framework of the Graphene Flagship, at the UAB campus, demonstrate that spin currents can be generated and manipulated in graphene-based heterostructures at room temperature.

New heat model may help electronic devices last longer
A University of Illinois-based team of engineers has found that the model currently used to predict heat loss in a common semiconductor material does not apply in all situations.

Read More: Electronic Devices News and Electronic Devices Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.