Canadian woman, Kathy Bleitz, has been living with Stargardt disease, an inherited degenerative disease of the retina that leads to progressive vision loss, often to the point of legal blindness. While Bleitz still has vision, all she can see is fuzzy, wavy shapes, that are even harder to see in dim light. Even something as simple as a person’s expression has been impossible for her to make out.
But Bleitz has gained access to a new eSight headset, which is worn mounted onto perception lens frames just above or in front of the eyes. Inside the headset is a high-definition camera, organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screens, and a range of other technologies designed to capture and display a real-time video feed to the user.
As James Maynard explains at Tech Times, users are able to adjust the contrast, colour, and brightness of the video feed, just like you would on a television screen. It also allows users to zoom in on things with 14 times the magnification of natural vision, just like their own personal set of binoculars.
“Interestingly, eSight’s many unique features – such as 14-times zoom, image contrast enhancement, reverse colour display, etc. – enable eSight users to actually see many things that normally-sighted people cannot see,” the developers write on their website.
While the device does not work for those who are completely blind, it can help the approximately 95 percent of legally blind individuals who have some vision remaining. Right now, a pair of eSight glasses will set you back 5,000, but the developers have set up financing schemes to help people acquire a pair. Tech Times reports that so far 140 people around North America are using them, and the company is now working on making them more compact and less obtrusive.
Watching Bleitz use hers to see her newborn baby for the first time – the first baby she’s ever seen, in fact – shows why even such a high cost of purchase is worth it. Below you can see American airforce veteran, Mark Cornell, see for the first time in 20 years. “You’re pretty!” he remarks to what must be a family member off-screen before he starts to tear up. We can’t wait till every person living with a visual impairment can have access to something like this.
See video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9crPvfcEy4