Cutting Edge Visionize uses virtual reality headsets to help people with low vision

To get through a day’s work at the office, Kenyetta McCurdy-Byrd needs to pack an entire toolbox.
There’s the bioptic telescope she attaches to her glasses to help her see long distances. There’s the zoom text software she uses to read from a screen. There are the two hand-held magnifiers that enable her to read from paper. And there are three pairs of prescription glasses to help bring things into focus the rest of the time.
“Sometimes I joke that I have to carry a huge bag with all my gadgetry just to see,” said the 42-year-old deputy director of a social service organization in Wilmington, Del. New apps are helping smartphones to recognize images
But it’s not so much a joke as it is reality for the estimated 4 million to 5 million Americans who, like McCurdy-Byrd, suffer from low vision, defined as a chronic, disabling visual impairment that can’t be corrected with eyeglasses or surgery.
Sufferers of low vision, a symptom of macular degeneration, have long had to toggle between different gadgets to help them see under different conditions. It’s not unusual for a person to have a literal toolbox containing various magnifiers and glasses.
But a solution to the toolbox could soon be on the way, thanks to Frank Werblin and a pair of virtual reality goggles.
Werblin, a professor of neuroscience at UC Berkeley, is the brains behind Visionize, a piece of software designed to help sufferers of low vision that uses the kind of virtual reality headsets popular in video gaming………
Read more: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-cutting-edge-visionize-20150719-story.html
Source: LA Times
 
 
 

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