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Bionic Eyeglasses May Boost Impaired Vision

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the seeing-is-believing dept.

Medicine 43

fangmcgee writes with this excerpt from a University of Oxford news release: "Technology developed for mobile phones and computer gaming – such as video cameras, position detectors, face recognition and tracking software, and depth sensors – is now readily and cheaply available. So Oxford researchers have been looking at ways that this technology can be combined into a normal-looking pair of glasses to help those who might have just a small area of vision left, have cloudy or blurry vision, or can’t process detailed images. ... The glasses have video cameras mounted at the corners to capture what the wearer is looking at, while a display of tiny lights embedded in the see-through lenses of the glasses feed back extra information about objects, people or obstacles in view. In between, a smartphone-type computer running in your pocket recognizes objects in the video image or tracks where a person is, driving the lights in the display in real time. The extra information the glasses display about their surroundings should allow people to navigate round a room, pick out the most relevant things and locate objects placed nearby."

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Bah (4, Funny)

Konster (252488) | more than 3 years ago | (#36668898)

No Steve Austin bionic eye sound, no dice. :(

Re:Bah (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36669012)

now it's even easier to see how stupid and uncivilized niggers are. yay!

anybody who calls that racist... just imagine walking alone in the ghetto in a large city late at night and think about how happy the blacks are to see you. even if you're black too. then tell me how good an idea that would be.

Re:Bah (1)

obergfellja (947995) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670974)

there is a difference between a nigger and a black person. A nigger is someone of ignorance which overwhelms logic. A black person is a person of dark completion, typically from African decent. I have seen many, many, White Niggers, society (of the US and maybe other countries) call them Whiggers, but it is still the same.

A Nigger Moment is when "ignorance overwhelming the logic of an otherwise rational man."

I am not sure if you're trolling or just an idiot... []

Re:Bah (1)

obergfellja (947995) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670902)

*Looks @ broken glasses* We can Repair them... We have the technology, but.... we don't wanna spend alot of money.

What about shoes? (3, Insightful)

Master Moose (1243274) | more than 3 years ago | (#36668900)

For the upskirt community, a wireless connection between the shoes and the screen in the glasses will be a godsend

Re:What about shoes? (3, Funny)

Roachie (2180772) | more than 3 years ago | (#36668986)

In my day we used to have to glue mirrors to our shoes, kids these days got it easy.

Re:What about shoes? (3, Insightful)

davester666 (731373) | more than 3 years ago | (#36669016)

Yeah, they have to tape a camera to their shoe instead. And tape over the red blinking light if they aren't a complete moron.

Re:What about shoes? (1)

Roachie (2180772) | more than 3 years ago | (#36669118)

"Miss! dont move! be very still... there is a bee in your hair..." /click/ /wrrrr/

"ok, its gone... whew! close call"

Of course hanging out all day by a ladies room at the food court kinda sucks. And you better be sure the fucking flash is off.

Re:What about shoes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36669944)

Ooooooh. That's how they always managed to arrest me....

Re:What about shoes? (2)

Ukab the Great (87152) | more than 3 years ago | (#36669104)

And vision-impaired members of the upskirt community will finally be able differentiate genuine upskirts from men wearing kilts.

Interesting concept, two problems (4, Interesting)

Sooner Boomer (96864) | more than 3 years ago | (#36668992)

...which are: 1) how do you get the signal from the cameras in the glasses to the processor and back to the display, and 2) how do you power them? It seems like you're going to need a fairly high bandwidth to carry visual information from the cameras and back up. Since these are glasses, you'll need to do this over a meter or more, and have to use an extremely flexible data pipe. Maybe some sort of flexure- or motion-powered charger could be used to top off the batteries. This (power) is the single greatest hurdle to overcome in the design of prosthetics.

Re:Interesting concept, two problems (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36669082)

Yeah they have a great invention for solving this power transferral problem that you are rightfully discussing. It's called a conductor. Normally made out of copper, and for uses like this they even have highly flexible versions.

I think people can live with a thin cord running down thier neck, it could even be disguised as those bands that make sure you don't lose your glasses (don't know their name in English, they're called "senile-strings" in Swedish).

Other than that there are batteries like in the Oakley sunglasses with MP3-player. However I agree that local batteries probably isn't the best solution considering that the camera needs to be powered, the communication needs to be powered and the display element also needs to be powered.

Third Problem (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36669098)

3) The tech is only good for 20 years. Right around the same time your power problem is solved, Apple's patent expires and the glasses will turn against their wearer and power down whenever near a movie theater, a TV screen, camera-shy celebrities, or anyone in government (especially cops).

Re:Third Problem (1)

pyrosine (1787666) | more than 3 years ago | (#36669528)

Being developed in the UK, just in case you didnt read the word "Oxford researchers"

Re:Interesting concept, two problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36669290)

1. Bluetooth 4 with a AMP (24 Mb/s) should do it.
2. The best rechargeable batteries you can get, put in the rather wide (but good-looking, made by a good designer) temple arms.

I think if people accept those strings you put on glasses so you can hang them around your neck, then if that string would contain a cable, continuing below the clothes, one could go much further too. (Not my thing though.)

I've thought about building something like that since at least 2002. But the technology still wasn't that good. Especially the batteries and Bluetooth bandwith. So your concerns aren't invalid.
But low-res (e.g. compressed 640x480 px) and short-time (15 min) solutions would already have been possible.
That wasn't good enough for me, so I decided to work on something else. It's still in my idea archive though.

(I also added 3D headphones, and in my case, the point was to fill out as much of your view as possible, for augmented reality. And looks, so good that women would buy them, even just for the looks, were a key point for me.)

Cabled things like that already exist, since at least 10-15 years, btw.

Re:Interesting concept, two problems (1)

subreality (157447) | more than 3 years ago | (#36669436)

USB. 4 x 28AWG can provide a generous helping of both power and bandwidth. You could even go to 30 or 32 AWG depending on the power requirements. I don't know how much a typical webcam uses but I expect it's not much; the LEDs are probably the heavier load. With a thin jacket this kind of cable is very flexible.

If the LEDs are too much of a burden you can switch to 2 x 28AWG + a bundle of very fine fiber optics. Fibers are amazingly flexible and durable - more so than copper in my experience. Use one for the camera data stream and the rest to channel light from LEDs in the base unit.

Re:Interesting concept, two problems (1)

Joush_mark (593914) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670944)

1) Radios. The newest versions of Bluetooth on the drawing board are supposed to run at 24 megabits a second. 2) Batteries, the same way glasses with wearable cameras work now. The added bulk of a portable generator to charge it and associated equipment would be awkward, for much the same reason your phone doesn't come with a hand dynamo. Or.. 1) Wires. It's no serious hardship to run a wire behind the ear from glasses to a small device. 2) See one. The power demands for this are vastly lower then those of, say, a prosthetic limb.

When is the future starting? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36669006)

I thought by now we'd be able to at least implant a fully functional artificial system, if not simply being able to re-grow functional human tisse in situ. Except for computers, our technology has been stagnating big time for decades now. There are no new materials (not really possible anyways, unless the Table of Elements is continued on the reverse?), no new energy sources, no new propulsion technologies, no new ways of growing food or making clothes, no new social models, nothing really exciting.

This tired re-hash of old ways of doing things is quite telling. We're too ignorant to actually do real bionics. Geeks want smart people to build rockets and re-live decades-old dreams in some kind of delusional cargo cult, in the meantime the real progress should be happening in the biotech world.

So, where is it? Is it too hard, so geeks prefer to retreat to the safety of 40 year old stunts with rockets? At least that worked, even if it accomplishes nothing.

Re:When is the future starting? (1)

Nikker (749551) | more than 3 years ago | (#36669614)

The mods are killing you but it is amazing how right you really are.

Re:When is the future starting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36672010)

Thanks. I know I'm right but I'm up against a really powerful cargo cult called Space Nuttery. The belief that somehow rocketry bring progress when in reality, it was the reverse. I mean, Russia has had many space "firsts", does anyone want to live in Russia? There's no connection between metal tubes filled with kerosene and social rewards.

So I repeat: WHERE is the future? Where is the technology? The other day we got a new FPGA development kit, all shiny and new, and to symbolize speed and technology, what's on the box? An F-15. Designed in the 1960s, flown for 40 years. It still symbolizes technology because it's at the peak of what can be done in the physical world. Unfortunately, smaller transistors and faster processors do nothing in the physical world. That F-15 still flies at Mach 2.5 whether its flight computer uses discrete transistors or a Core i9 or whatever.

Geeks don't get that.

Re:When is the future starting? (1)

EsbenMoseHansen (731150) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670476)

There are no new materials (not really possible anyways, unless the Table of Elements is continued on the reverse?),

Fullerene [] is a new materials from the last couple of decades that looks very promising.

Re:When is the future starting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36675774)

And have they built anything more significant than a toothpick with that in the last few decades? That's my point.

Re:When is the future starting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36670514)

Progress always seems slow when you're in it. Huge leaps forward are very rare. Improvements happen incrementally, in ways that each step seems nearly trivial until you have enough time pass to be able to look back.

When I was a kid we had (in no particular order):

  • one rotary dial telephone
  • One telephone company, and "long distance" calls cost the equivalent of $3 a minute
  • a black and white TV with a rabbit ear antenna that required constant fiddling.
  • No remote controls except for the luxury high models, and that was done by pressing a mechanical button that would pluck a tuning fork
  • Three broadcast channels plus a local "UHF" channel
  • Stores were open from 9am to 5pm and were closed all day Sunday
  • Satellite broadcasting was in its infancy, and "technical difficulties" happened all the time.
  • No common antibiotics except for penicillin
  • Few forms of cancer were survivable, and many were certain death.
  • Really crappy cars from GM, and even crappier cars from Japan.
  • No cell phones, only room-sized computers, no hand-held calculators, no microwave ovens
  • No ATMs, no debit cards
  • No unleaded gas, frequent smog alerts with unbreathable air, near-clueless weather prediction

I'm sure I'm forgetting a thousand more things, but technologically the world is extraordinarily different from when I was young. People are pretty much the same, except they seem to be simultaneously both less and more ignorant.

Re:When is the future starting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36672032)

And yet, none of our "new" technologies would be unrecognizable in the same way as say, a plane is to a horse. We really just fine tune and tweak the same physics for decades now. None of your examples really changed our life. Do we work less? No. If anything, now both parents work for less and longer hours with less security. So tell me, what is all the technology for? Is it a circus designed to transfer money from one millionaire to another, via your paycheck?

If we have all this technology, why do we still live in perpetual fear of losing our jobs, or having no money? Clearly, it's all an illusion. Where is the leisure society? We have technology, so where is it? Everyone is *so* productive now with their iPads! So what are they producing? For who? Where is it? How come people still starve?

Because we've changed nothing. Shinier toys, that's it. And BTW, the 747 from your era flew as fast and as high as our 747s. Nothing's changed.

Re:When is the future starting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36676514)

Even if you ignore everything else, personal computers and the internet is an enormous, extraordinary change. What would have to have happened for you to not say "nothing's changed"?

OK, I was going to type several more paragraphs, but you're not worth the trouble. Just think for yourself.

Too bad this wasn't available earlier (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 3 years ago | (#36669190)

Things might've ended differently for Colin Blythe.

is that a... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36669254)

Is that an augmented reality bionic vision smart phone like device in your pocket, and/or are you happy to see me?

Focal length (2)

Seggybop (835060) | more than 3 years ago | (#36669262)

I'm very curious as to how they've managed to display information on conventional-looking glasses that the wearer is actually capable of focusing on. Every time a story like this has come up of some group that developed normal-appearing glasses with a display, it's turned out to be vapor or a useless concept mockup. Existing head-mounted displays all involve bulky prisms/mirrors that push the effective focal length of the image far enough out that the viewer can actually see it. If you simply make a transparent display on the lens itself or attempt to project onto it, a human normally can't focus anywhere near close enough for it to be visible, and this has been the most serious problem with any sort of device like this.

Re:Focal length (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#36669336)

I don't think they are feeding in an image as such. Just individual signals from LEDs in the glasses. It seems to be customised to the visual system of the user. The glasses might have signals set up with the LEDs which mean surface directly ahead or movement in peripheral vision.

biotech? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36669318)

Meh, it would be a better biotech to simply regenerate or clone the eyes. Creating cyborgs shouldn't be the goal.

over 9000 Geordi's agree (2)

Reed Solomon (897367) | more than 3 years ago | (#36669356)

I refuse to buy one unless it looks like I'm wearing a hair accessory on my face.

blind people have fashion standards to follow, you know.

Kind of useless... (1)

vikisonline (1917814) | more than 3 years ago | (#36669508)

Many years ago, they have developed a system where completely blind people can see outlines. A camera is interfaced with the brain to send it signals. From what I heard there was even a sub driver in new york city who had such an implant. The camera was hidden in a sunglasses lookalike device. Extending and working on that research would be much much more useful than branching to, well lets use AI to flash colored LEDs. YAY! Sounds like a common thesis for these days, not something actually useful. Mind you it will be much cheaper than the other device I mentioned, but it will be just as much less useful.

Re:Kind of useless... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36672280)

The above is far, far below what you're describing, and in fact sounds very similar...but promising still...Until the 2nd article which states Dobelle died in 2006 and with him his research and institute did as well.

ar already (1)

n30na (1525807) | more than 3 years ago | (#36669604)

Can't we have a rudimentary and decent version of glasses with such capabilities for ar already please?

Eyeglasses May Boost Impaired Vision (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36669898)

No shit, Sherlock! Eyeglasses boost impaired vision. Always have done. That's what they're for.

I'll wait (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670504)

for the Ixians, thanks.

HUD (1)

Kal Zekdor (826142) | more than 3 years ago | (#36670546)

Helping near-blind people see is all well and good, but, when will this technology be available to the average consumer? I want my heads-up display. Think about it, glasses that can overlay contact information on people you meet via facial recognition, price comparisons simple by looking at a barcode, IMs or emails scrolling across your vision. I want. I want now.

Re:HUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36671348)

Wow, I was just thinking about not having to be like "Hi, uh... uh... Jim is it?" When I really ought to know the person.

Had that a while ago where I met my boss from my internship in an unfamiliar setting (in MN when he lives in NM) and I just couldn't place him.

Vapourware for everyone but the blind. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#36671522)

Honestly, this has been in development for decades. Prof Steve Mann and Prof Thad Starner are the ones that started this.

Problem is everyone has been claiming that the VR glasses are "not that far off" for 20 years now. and they are no closer now than they were in 1998. we don't have light emitting optically transparent emitters that can emulate a focal distance so the eye does not have to focus on them. the closest was a set of glasses that THad Starner made with a small Prism in them that would reflect a tiny image into the field of view but it caused optical aberration around the location and major blind spot when not displaying anything.

This stuff is still 100 years away, they dont even have lab prototypes to even research that comes close to what is needed.

Near blind being blasted by LED's because they cant see anyways is easy. something that even someone that needs corrective lenses will not be driven nuts by the optical distortion is 100% impossible for a very long time.

Re:Vapourware for everyone but the blind. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36672412)

But we'll colonize Mars, though, right?

amazing... (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 3 years ago | (#36673220)

This far into the postings, and yet, no one has said it.
I'll believe it when I see it.

cyborgs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36674430)

Anyone, wearing any eyeglasses at all, is by definition a cyborg.

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