Augmented reality could help the legally blind see.
That’s the promise of Canadian company eSight, which showcased its latest technology at the recent Augmented World Expo in Santa Clara, the industry’s main trade show.
Vision-impaired users wear eSight like a pair of glasses. It gets bonus points for bearing a passing resemblance to the VISOR device worn by Geordi La Forge in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
A front-facing high-definition camera on the headset captures everything in the user’s normal field of vision. Images are projected in real-time on near-eye displays.
The glasses are custom made to the wearer’s prescription, and the lenses are overlaid with transparent OLED (organic LED) displays. The displays can be adjusted to fill the entire field of vision or just a portion, like bifocals.
Rather than a straight video feed, eSight uses algorithms to optimize footage of the world for specific tasks, such as close reading or navigating a footpath. Depth and focus, which can give people with impaired vision trouble, are adjusted helpfully.
Users can also zoom in on specific objects up to 24x. A vision-impaired student might use the device to get a clear, close-up view of a white board.
The company’s mission comes straight from founder Conrad Lewis’s personal history. Lewis has two legally blind sisters, and the company is part of a lifelong quest to help them have better lives.
eSight is just one company looking at novel ways to use augmented and virtual reality to enhance accessibility for people living with…