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Bionic Glasses For Visually Impaired

Bionic Glasses For Visually Impaired

Oxford researchers hope to improve bad eyesight with bionic glasses…

British researchers are developing bionic glasses, which take technology from smartphones and motion control gaming, to help the visually impaired get a better picture of their surroundings.

The device, which is aimed at helping people who suffer from visual impairment due to conditions such as age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, incorporates two video cameras positioned on the sides of the frames to capture the objects around the user; LED lights mounted on the insides of the glasses that light up to provide extra information about the surroundings; and a small pocketable CPU to compute and relay all this information.

oxford researchers develop bionic glasses for visually impaired Bionic Glasses For Visually Impaired

Bionic Glasses For Visually Impaired

Image Credit: Dr Stephen Hicks via The Telegraph UK, 2011.

Dr Stephen Hicks, of the Department of Clinical Neurology at Oxford University where the glasses are being developed, said:

“The types of poor vision we are talking about are where you might be able to see your own hand moving in front of you but you can’t define the fingers…

“We want to be able to enhance vision in those who’ve lost it or who have little left or almost none…

“The glasses should allow people to be more independent – finding their own directions and signposts, and spotting warning signals.” [Telegraph]

The lights will be color-coded to represent humans or different types of objects, and the brightness will determine how close the subject is.

It’s hoped that the additional sensory information provided by the LEDs will allow patients with impaired vision to better navigate their surroundings.

The glasses are still in the early stages of development, however the researchers hope each pair could be sold for around 800 dollars – at least five times cheaper than the cost of draining a seeing-eye dog.

Simulations of the technology were display at this year’s Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition.


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