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Innovative Display Technology Adapts To Optical Prescription PDF
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Feature Story
Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Innovative Corrective DisplayResearchers at MIT, Microsoft, and University of California, Berkeley are developing technology that can adjust an image on a display so you can see it clearly without corrective lenses. The technology uses algorithms to alter an image based on a person's glasses prescription together with a light filter set in front of the display. The algorithm alters the light from each individual pixel so that, when fed through a tiny hole in the plastic filter, rays of light reach the retina in a way that re-creates a sharp image. Researchers say the idea is to anticipate how your eyes will naturally distort whatever's onscreen, something glasses or contacts typically correct, and adjust it beforehand so that what you see appears clear.

In addition to making it easier for people with simple vision problems to use all kinds of displays without glasses, the technique may help those with more serious vision problems caused by physical defects that can't be corrected with glasses or contacts, researchers say. This includes spherical aberration, which causes different parts of the lens to refract light differently.

While similar methods have been tried before, the new approach produces a sharper, higher-contrast image. The technology can be adjusted for different viewers, but it won't currently work for several people simultaneously who have different vision needs.

For more information download the published paper at:

Finger Device Reads Books To The Blind PDF
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Friday, 11 July 2014

Researchers from the MIT Media Lab have developed a device shaped like a giant ring, called FingerReader, that can read to people who are visually impaired. After slipping the device on, the user just runs an index finger below the printed text in a magazine, on a business card, or on a menu, for example. A small camera scans the words and the device reads them out loud in real time. Audio cues and a small vibrating motor alerts the user if he or she needs to move to the next line or has veered from the line of text.

The FingerReader is a tool both for visually impaired people that require help with accessing printed text, as well as an aid for language translation. Wearers scan a text line with their finger and receive an audio feedback of the words and a haptic feedback of the layout: start and end of line, new line, and other cues. The FingerReader algorithm knows to detect and give feedback when the user veers away from the baseline of the text, and helps them maintain a straight scanning motion within the line.

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Researchers Use Pig Eyes To Develop Better Protective Eyewear PDF
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Thursday, 10 July 2014

Researchers at The University of Texas at San Antonio have discovered that the current protective eyewear used by the U.S. armed forces might not be adequate to protect soldiers exposed to explosive blasts. According to a recent study, ocular injuries now account for 13 percent of all battlefield injuries and are the fourth most common military deployment-related injury.

In a basement laboratory at Fort Sam Houston military base, the research team has spent the last two years simulating Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blasts on postmortem pig eyes using a high-powered shock tube. So far, they have discovered that the shock wave alone created by an IED, even in the absence of shrapnel or other particles, can cause significant damage to the eyes that could lead to partial or total blindness. Perhaps the most striking discovery is that these blasts can damage the optic nerve, which transmits information from the eye to the brain. Optic nerve injuries occur even at low pressures and could be the cause of many visual deficits, which until now have been associated traumatic brain injuries.

"There has been considerable controversy surrounding whether primary blasts could damage the eye," said a researcher. "No one had shown conclusive evidence before, perhaps because they weren't looking at the problem quite as closely as we have. We had some idea of what to look for based on results from computational models and now we have experimental data that supports this phenomenon."

This research will not only help physicians know what type of injuries to screen for and treat following a blast injury, but also create a reliable model to test various protective eyewear solutions that might prevent or reduce blast damage to the eyes.

Visual Tricks May Aid Male Great Bowerbird's Mating Success PDF
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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Bower BirdNew research has uncovered the visual tricks male great bowerbirds employ to enhance their chances of mating. Professor John Endler, from Deakin University's School of Life and Environmental Sciences (Centre for Integrative Ecology), says researchers know that male great bowerbirds construct a bower to restrict and refine the female's view.

Professor Endler says the bower is made from two semi-circles known as 'courts' which contain uncoloured items. The courts connect via a thatched 'avenue' making a tunnel lined with reddish sticks. Professor Endler studied two populations of male great bowerbirds in the dry tropics of northern Queensland, between 2010 and 2012.

The research, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, found that the male great bowerbird withholds objects from the female's field of vision when it isn't actively displaying them. Professor Endler says the birds' behaviour does not directly increase mating success but 'could play a role in attracting and holding the attention of female bowerbirds.'

Online Eye Exams Business Receives Seed Funding PDF
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Tuesday, 04 March 2014

OpternativeU.S. Chicago-based company Opternative hopes to make eye care more accessible, convenient and inexpensive. The company claims that with their technology a complete eye exam would be available to patients who can access a computer or tablet that is connected to the Internet. After the 5- to 10-minute exam, patients would receive a prescription signed by an eye care practitioners for contact lenses or glasses. The exam would be less expensive than traditional eye exams.

The company has recently received US $1 million in seed round funding. According to co-founder of Opternative Steven Lee, OD : "I knew I needed to make the eye exam experience better. My years working as an optometrist led me to create Opternative. People who use Opternative will receive a prescription that is accurate and convenient. They can use it to buy glasses or contact lenses either online or from a local eye wear provider."

EyeMusic Sensory Substitution Device Enables the Blind to “See” Colors and Shapes PDF
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Feature Story
Monday, 10 February 2014

EyeMusic DeviceUsing auditory or tactile stimulation, Sensory Substitution Devices (SSDs) provide representations of visual information and can help the blind "see" colors and shapes. SSDs scan images and transform the information into audio or touch signals that users are trained to understand, enabling them to recognize the image without seeing it.

Currently SSDs are not widely used within the blind community because they can be cumbersome and unpleasant to use. However, a team of researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have developed the EyeMusic, a novel SSD that transmits shape and color information through a composition of pleasant musical tones, or "soundscapes." A new study published in Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience reports that using the EyeMusic SSD, both blind and blindfolded sighted participants were able to correctly identify a variety of basic shapes and colors after as little as 2-3 hours of training.

The EyeMusic, developed by senior investigator Prof. Amir Amedi, PhD, and his team at the Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Sciences (ELSC) and the Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada at the Hebrew University, scans an image and uses musical pitch to represent the location of pixels. The higher the pixel on a vertical plane, the higher the pitch of the musical note associated with it. Timing is used to indicate horizontal pixel location. Notes played closer to the opening cue represent the left side of the image, while notes played later in the sequence represent the right side. Additionally, color information is conveyed by the use of different musical instruments to create the sounds: white (vocals), blue (trumpet), red (reggae organ), green (synthesized reed), yellow (violin); black is represented by silence.

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