Many people will currently associate augmented reality (AR) with gaming or retail apps, and as much as we all love these ideas, surely a technology as genuinely transformative as AR could be used for more profoundly life-changing applications?
This is something that scientist Philip Torr and neuroscientist Stephen Hicks, founders of OxSight, have set out to achieve by designing a pair of augmented reality glasses that will enable the legally blind or visually impaired to be able to see clearly again.
The smart AR glasses are designed in a way that pick up on a persons visual weaknesses, they take these specific visual cues and overlay them on the lenses in real time, allowing individuals to easily avoid obstacles, see blurry faces clearly again, and see better in the dark or low light conditions.
OxSight’s glasses can increase image contrast, highlight specific visual features or create cartoon like representations of reality, through the use of computer-vision algorithms and cameras. The glasses will work differently depending on the eye condition, for example for someone with tunnel vision and issues with colour perception, the glasses would emphasise colour, and someone with blurry vision can have the salience of certain important parts of an image enhanced.
The company are in the process of trialling these new augmented reality glasses with several people across the UK, and so far there has been a very positive outcome, with those suffering from diseases such as glaucoma or retinitis pigmentosa reporting the glasses to be “life changing”. The only issue they need to work on now is the aesthetics as users will not tolerate something that makes them stand out from the crowd.
Introducing AR to healthcare could make a huge difference to peoples lives, and keeping its uses to just activities like shopping and gaming means we could be missing out on a lot. Healthcare apps and other advances in technology are already transforming the worlds healthcare. Do you think this is the likely route that augmented reality will, or should, also take?