Oxsight is a vision aid for the blind

– I’ve always been really
passionate about human vision and what it is to see the world, and how it feels really complex, but actually the brain sort
of pieces together so much to make our sense of sight that technology like augmented reality can really play a huge role in people who don’t have much in the
way of light-sensing ability. Once you start to lose your sight, it really becomes
difficult to differentiate between, say, a foreground
object and a background one. They kind of blur together. We are making use of the
sight that people still have. And it may just be the
detection of light and movement or a small amount of shape detection. And so what we do is put that on the inside of a pair of glasses. This device is a large battery
controller and processor. The key thing is you’ve got
these really simple controls. But the modes that we set are really what we’re trying to investigate. So, this is the simplest of all. So, it just shows a depth map with a person or an object
nearby is very, very bright. Then we can start to increase
some of the details here by taking it up one mode. So now the person now has a
little bit of brighter outlines. And there’s a person revealed and some chairs behind in the background. We also looked at some stuff where we’d also applied
some cartoonization for anything that was
near enough in front. So now we have one face here. It’s quite pixelated, but
it can give you a gist of, there’s a person there. And then there’s another one where we just look at pure contrast. So this gives you a whole bright display and boosts the contrast of objects. You can zoom in, magnify the image, even pause it if you want. ‘Cause some people need to
have that kind of ability to kind of pause an image and
investigate a bit further. So it’s a really huge range of stuff, ’cause blindness is such
a diverse condition, if you’re really trying to
suit the actual person’s needs. Most of the people that we work with have had full sight at
some stage in their life, and it’s degraded over time. So they know what objects look like, and I guess they miss
them and things like that. But with faces, I think that’s
the really profound thing. A lot of people have said that they’re bound to see
their daughter’s faces and interact with them over the table, and not really ever thinking they would be able to have
that experience again. And so that sort of stuff
feeds back to the lab. And you know, it’s all remarkable, and we all get so excited about that. Some of the other stuff is about being able to naturally see obstacles. So obviously you know people
use a cane or a guide dog often to walk around objects. That gives you immediate
localization of obstacles but doesn’t give you a
bigger sense of awareness. So some people will often
walk into cars or billboards or things like that on the road. And our glasses give you a
real heads-up about that. A lot of people comment about their sort of freedom of movement and their ability to go
out with more confidence and go to dark places
like bars and restaurants where sight would be limited. – At the heart of it,
this is a medical device. This isn’t something that someone’s gonna roll up to the store
and buy off the shelf. How does the fact that
you’re making this product that is inherently an aid of some kind, how does that impact your business? – So, it’s not a traditional setup where you’ve got a gigantic market and a relatively well-defined one that you can just ask
an investor, here we go. No one’s ever tried to
sell devices like this. It’s essentially like a
hearing aid for vision. It’s really unknown. So raising money was about finding the right type of investor, who was prepared to
carry a bit of that risk but also have a potentially
philanthropic interest in this work as well. And so we did find an investor
who covers all those aspects. In the future, a lot of us
will be using smart glasses. I think that’s actually, well, that’s what we all think
is gonna happen quite soon. So I like the idea of
exploring this definite need and building up our platform of technology so that maybe in five years’ time when certain companies will
come out with something which we all really like, we’ve already got a great
platform underneath that that we can start exploring other areas. Like there’s an area of
dementia or autism or dyslexia. All these areas can be
potentially facilitated by wearable displays that in
some way manipulate and tune your outside environment.

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9 thoughts on “Oxsight is a vision aid for the blind

  1. Srr but for me I think there are better devices. Everything is on black and white. It’s thanks to my colors I can see the bit I can see now and by removing the colors it gives me less sight. I untherstand that it could work for outhers but for me I like my outher ar glasses

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