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New Star Trek-Like Smart Glasses Give Instant Sight To The Legally Blind

16 February 2017, 6:52 am EST By Chris Loterina Tech Times
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In Star Trek: The Next Generation, there is a blind character called Geordi La Forge, who was able to see through a special visor.

Now this technology is no longer confined to the realm of fiction with the unveiling of a new smart glasses called eSight 3 last Feb. 15. The makers of the smart eye gear claimed that it can let legally blind users gain their vision again.

How Does eSight Restore Vision?

The eSight is outfitted with a chip that processes data captured by the wearable's camera. The imaging module features several sensors and powerful prisms that can yield high-quality HD images. It can even zoom in up to 24 times, allowing the user to look at things and objects up close.

Images are then displayed in two OLED screens a few millimeters away from the wearer's eyes. This part reminds one a bit of how VR works. What is even more awesome is that the camera sensor can focus fast, owing to its liquid lens technology. It can perform in less than 1 millisecond, which is similar to the capability of the human eye.

The process offers a legally blind person an opportunity see. For example, Yvonne Felix, an eSight 3 user who has a form of macular degeneration disease since the age of seven, has 20/400 vision. She has been participating as an eSight beta-tester for some time. Using the latest iteration of the device, her visual acuity dropped to 20/25, which is an incredible feat given the fact that the normal vision is 20/20.

"They see what they used to see what they had healthy vision, pretty much," Brian Mech, eSight president and CEO, said. "There's nothing artificial about it."

Compatibility And Price

Developers, however, explain that eSight 3 will not be able to restore vision for all cases of blindness, particularly those who are completely blind. The device is currently compatible to macular degeneration and sight loss associated with diabetes. Felix, for instance, has a Stargardt disease, which is a form of macular degeneration that involves a blind spot that blocks 98 percent of her vision.

According to developers, eSight will not work as effectively on cases involving some forms of glaucoma or severe conditions affecting the retina.

Those interested to try eSight 3, it is now available for $9,995. That is quite a hefty amount, so eSight allows installment schemes and even help customers avail government grants or raise fund through crowdfunding.

eSight 3 is a bit bulky in comparison to other smart glasses such as the Google Glass. Its maker, however, promised to develop it further so that in the future, its footprint would be similar to the ordinary reading glasses.

"I think the day will come where it's not so different than just a regular pair of glasses, or maybe even a pair of contact lenses," Mech promised. "We're not talking 20 years from now, we're talking about maybe in the next five to 10 years."

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