Bionic glasses are being developed at Oxford University. Using technology found in smartphones, the glasses have video cameras at the sides and a LED light display embedded in the lenses. The smartphone-type computer, which fits in the wearer’s pocket, recognizes the objects in the video image and tracks down where a person or object is, which in turn, drives the lights in the display. This helps people navigate around a room and locate objects that are close-by. The brightness helps the wearer to see how close an object is.
Dr. Stephen Hicks, a clinical neurology research associate at the university, is leading the development of the prototype. “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.” Possibly an audio component will be inserted so the video image of written material can be converted to speech.
Dr. Hicks said the feasibility study will be complete in a year and the trial, where people will use the glasses in their homes, will take another two years.
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