For low vision specialists and those who consult them
Journal article: A versatile optoelectronic aid for low vision patients
August 6, 2009Posted by on
There is an interesting article in this month’s Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics by María Dolores Peláez-Coca, Fernando Vargas-Martín and colleagues which presents an electronic low vision aid which performs image processing on the fly (i.e. in real time). The system is called SERBA (an acronym for the Spanish of Reconfigurable Electro-optic System for Low-vision Aid). The device fits on a baseball cap for portable use and is relatively inconspicuous.
One of the manipulations it performs is a digital zoom, however I am more impressed by the augmented view strategy which it incorporates. This enables the user to see a compressed view superimposed upon the “real” view of the scene. The idea is that someone with peripheral visual field loss (as in glaucoma or retinitis pigmentosa) can see a compressed view of a scene within the intact visual field, and can use this view to locate objects of interest. The area of interest can then be seen with the residual field.
The system was shown to expand the visual field by between 1.7 and 4.1 times, as assessed on a tangent screen test.
Of course the real test would be to see how useful it is for people with reduced visual fields in the real world: for catching a bus or watching a sporting event, say. However the lab tests of this system are encouraging and I think it will be very interesting to follow the progress of the SERBA.