When AR and VR are combined to act as a powerful low vision aid
Since inception, GiveVision have been working to create sight aids that are practical, wearable, and most importantly, beneficial to their users. The UK alone has 2 million visually impaired people, and GiveVision are passionate about making every day just as accessible to them as it is to the fully-sighted.
In recent months, the company has pre-launched its most innovative product yet: the SightPlus. These virtual-reality style goggles allow the user to control what they are seeing and in what manner. The device has the power to zoom in and out, change contrast perspectives, and simply offer the wearer the chance to focus on things that might otherwise have been inaccessible to them.
One of now over 100 testers of the SightPlus said “I’m noticing interesting things all over my house. I was able to notice on my table mat more colour than I usually would”. Reviews such as this are not uncommon; other testers have said that the equipment is “amazing” and “like being in a world of your own”.
For GiveVision, the aim has always been to develop technologies that can assist in providing and maintaining independence for visually impaired people.
Over recent weeks, the company has selected twenty super-testers to test the equipment in their own environments. Reports suggest that users are finding it incredibly helpful for a variety of things from reading food packets, gardening, looking through the mail, to nail painting and even archery watching.
Seemingly, the visual aid is providing people with more than magnification- it is providing them with independence and confidence at home and in the workplace.
Previously, it has been the case that sight aids were often impractical and unaffordable. One gentleman, who had been testing the SightPlus himself said: “I have my iPad in one hand, my magnifier in the other, but then I’ve got no hands left for anything else!”
This one observation explains very well why GiveVision work on the technology that they do. From their own research, they have found that 95% of people registered blind still have some residual sight and would prefer to enhance that sight as opposed to relying on audio description. Subsequently, GiveVision have developed a piece of wearable technology that allows the user to be both independent and mobile every day with the help of something that is not an extension of the hand, but of the eyes themselves. This, the empowerment of the visually impaired, is the biggest selling point and what really sets this technology apart.
Example of a user who had to be very close to the TV to watch it. With SightPlus, he can sit on the sofa with his family without obstructing the TV.
Moreover, the company are working hard to ensure that when this technology is readily available, it will be accessible to as many people as it can be. In doing so, GiveVision have made some strong connections with charities such as Beacon centre and Sight concern to ensure that the places that visually impaired people already contact for support and sight aid are the ones who are able to supply them with it upon reliable recommendation and personal product knowledge. Soon, it is GiveVision’s ambition that this technology will benefit visually impaired people all over the country.
So far, this technology has certainly delivered on its promise of potential.