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New Vision Device Passes Virtual Collision Test for People with Tunnel Vision
Date:8/31/2009

ith Peli's glasses, the transparent display allows patients to retain their ability to see detailed visual information, while also viewing a superimposed minified outline version of a wider visual field. The tiny computer-video system provides updated outline information 30 times per second. When a patient becomes aware of a possible obstacle or important object in the superimposed outline image, he/she can avoid bumping into or tripping over it.

Because the minified outline can strongly distort perception of distance and obstacle location, and only provides coarse information about the scene, Peli and his team wanted to know if patients were able to use the device to make correct judgments about potential collisions. They tested normally sighted subjects and tunnel vision patients in a large virtual mall environment that presented a series of collision scenarios -- people and objects appearing from different distances and directions. They asked the subjects to estimate the risk of collision in these scenarios with and without wearing the tunnel vision device.

The team found that, even without any adaptation or training, all tested subjects were able to make decisions using the device as accurately as when directly looking at obstacles with natural vision. The distortion of minification did not seem to affect their judgment.

The research team, which includes Dr. Gang Luo and Dr. Russell L. Woods, says that the next step is to refine the device and evaluate its utility in patients' daily life.

"From this study, we had an idea about how we could make an intelligent collision detection system. We have started to develop such a system that can automatically provide warnings about potential collisions. It can help patients with tunnel vision, as well as completely blind people," says Dr. Luo.

Schepens Eye Research Institute is the largest independent eye research institu
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SOURCE Schepens Eye Research Institute
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