OXSIGHT improve the quality of life of the partially sighted with Moverio

A powerful aid for people with visual impairment

OXSIGHT improve the quality of life of the partially sighted with Moverio

Discover how OXSIGHT is using Moverio smart glasses from Epson to boost the vision of the partially sighted. In the video, see how OXSIGHT Prism and Crystal, based on Moverio smart glasses, provide a powerful aid for people with visual impairment.

EPSON MOVERIO: Making the World More Visible

In 2010, when a team at the University of Oxford undertook research to understand how the brain manages visual information, a remarkable story began to unfold. Six years later, OXSIGHT was born, and an image interpretation technology was developed that is enhancing the lives of those with visual impairments. This innovation found its perfect partnership in the form of Epson Moverio smart glasses. Using intelligent, iterative design, OXSIGHT has successfully married its technology with Epson’s device to produce a groundbreaking product that is changing lives.

The simple action of putting on a pair of glasses to improve our vision is something that we all  take for granted, however for someone with tunnel vision, the effect of donning the OXSIGHT smart glasses can be profound; allowing the wearer to interact much more with the world around them and enabling them to enjoy social situations, exhibitions, read books and watch cinema and TV. In OXSIGHT’s own, and beautifully unscientific words: “…an eye opener”.                                                                                                                  

OXSIGHT’s aim is to make a real difference to the daily lives of people with conditions that cause peripheral vision loss. These include Glaucoma, Diabetic Retinopathy, Retinitis Pigmentosa, Myopic Degeneration, Retinopathy of prematurity and other degenerative eye diseases. The glasses have also helped people with visual impairments caused following a stroke. This is achieved by enhancing the remaining sight of individuals with such conditions, via the onboard camera streaming a live feed into the two HD video displays, which, as with all Epson smart glasses, appears in front of the area of usable vision. In such cases this can potentially increase the field of view to 68 degrees horizontally.

But why Epson Moverio glasses? Dr. Rakesh Roshan, OXSIGHT’s CEO, says the decision was made on three criteria where Epson excels: wearability, usability, and functionality. He also points out that Moverio’s colour-rich, OLED display is of paramount importance, as visually impaired people need to see bright, high quality images and, in addition to that, the Epson product has allowed them to build the lightest device on the market.

Dr. Roshan’s team has adapted the Moverio platform into two models: OXSIGHT Prism™ and OXSIGHT Crystal™. Both models make full use of Epson’s inbuilt design features, such as the light frame, state-of-the-art digital display and the ability to easily fit corrective lenses.

The OXSIGHT Prism™ version features a comfortable occluder that blocks out external light for users who are ultrasensitive, whereas the OXSIGHT Crystal™ includes clear screens which allows social interaction through eye contact and also offers the user a customised look with a removable shade.

Well designed smart glasses combined with vision enhancing software is a formula that works, and the OXSIGHT story perfectly illustrates the potency of AR technology in the right hands; but the more you learn of this story, the more you are struck by the way the products improve everyday life for the users. On a practical level, one would not be surprised to learn that the glasses help gain awareness of surroundings, an easier location of objects, and the ‘edge enhancement’ mode helps to define objects and doorways. The ‘enhanced colour’ mode enables a better view of signs, the choosing of clothes, selection of food, identifying money… there is even a ‘Text Mode’ that helps with print, signs and handwriting.

But this goes further. The sum of these parts means more support at work and play, and more confidence in the office, outdoors or at hobbies. Talking to Dr. Stephen Hicks, OXSIGHT’s Head of Innovation and Co-Founder, can be a heartwarming experience as he recounts individual stories of OXSIGHT users. There is the woman who remarked, “You need to have a shave!” on seeing her grown up son’s face properly for the first time. The mum who was able to see her daughter swimming for the first time, not to mention a host of users who can see clearly the faces of their grandchildren, nieces and nephews as never before. You can understand Dr. Hicks’ pride when he says, “It’s a real privilege to provide that benefit”.

One of the more recent success stories is with a teenager called Callum, who has the condition Retinitis Pigmentosa, a form of tunnel vision. This causes a constriction of the visual field, which the OXSIGHT products are able to expand by up to 68 degrees, allowing the user to see an entire face, or entire line of words or section of text. Callum’s dad surprised him by giving him the glasses as a present, and on first trying them, Callum described the experience as “life changing”.  He can now play his favourite computer games, peruse manga comics more thoroughly, see the whole TV screen, and even see the whole cinema screen. He says the glasses help him with his school work and give him greater independence. Teenagers are not noted for their emotive use of adjectives, so you appreciate what Callum feels when he describes the experience as “magnificent”.

So what are the next steps for OXSIGHT? Stephen Hicks says they will continue to innovate and continue to improve the functionality, branching out into solutions for other visual conditions. With around 350,000 people registered as blind or partially sighted in the UK alone, one can sense OXSIGHT’s appetite for the challenges ahead. For Stephen, it is also about exceeding expectations. In the same way that technology in sport continues to push forward the capabilities of Paralympic athletes, a visually impaired person could have better night vision than a sighted person.

Dr Hicks says, “we want to create something magical, something much closer to science fiction”.

Judging by the reactions of the early adopters, and the feedback of OXSIGHT’s users, the magic is already happening and the science is no longer fiction.

Watch the video here