Pixels guide the way for visually impaired news
05 March 2013

Images transformed into pixels and projected onto a headset can help the visually impaired in everyday tasks, such as navigation, route planning and finding objects, according to a study led by researchers from the Keck School of Medicine of USC.

Researchers hope the pixels, which were developed using a video camera and mathematical algorithm, can provide more information and enhance the vision of patients already fitted with retinal implants.

''Blind people with retinal implants can detect motion and large objects and have improved orientation when walking. In most cases, they can also read large letters,'' said James Weiland, associate professor of ophthalmology at the Keck School and lead author of the paper.

''At the moment, retinal implants are still low-resolution. We believe that our algorithm will enhance retinal implants by providing the user with more information when they are looking for a specific item.''

The findings were published in the March 1 issue of the Journal of Neural Engineering.

Involved in the study were 19 healthy subjects, each of whom undertook training to get used to the pixelated vision. During the study, they were fitted with a head-mounted display (HMD) and took part in three different experiments - walking an obstacle course, finding objects on an otherwise empty table and searching for a particular target in a cluttered environment.

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Pixels guide the way for visually impaired