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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

We are developing a visual prosthetic for the blind: how would it be most useful?

We are a team of researchers at Brown University developing a prosthetic device to assist people who are blind or have low vision. Current technology can provide only a very low resolution image using brain stimulation, so this should be considered an assistive device rather than a restoration of normal vision. That said, we believe it could useful for day-to-day tasks. To focus our efforts, our question is, what daily activities are challenging and perhaps not readily handled with blindness techniques or existing assistive technologies? Are there tasks or situations that are frustrating or embarrassing that a little visual input could help with? Are there particular objects that you often wish you could locate visually, or difficult tasks that could be made easier with a device like this?

A few examples of things our device might do are listed below:

Show the user where a door handle or car door handle is

Locate text (on signs, posters, et cetera) and read it aloud to the user via an earpiece

Determine the distance of an obstacle in front of the user

Help the user sort laundry into lights and darks

Help the user to locate objects that have been dropped on the floor

We would be extremely grateful for any suggestions or ideas you might have, or any feedback about the functions we are considering. Thank you.

TLDR: What are some everyday tasks that you find especially challenging as a blind person? If you could find specific objects or perceive specific features of your surroundings using a low-resolution visual prosthetic, what would you want to be able to see?

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Re: We are developing a visual prosthetic for the blind: how would it be most useful?

sorry forgot one more thing
reading labels. I love to cook with many spices.
I've given myself more than one sneezing fit determining the cayenne pepper from the tyme. somethings like oregano have a istinctive sound when you shake them and aren't as difficult. but getting useful feedback from a prosthetic would be awesome!

Re: We are developing a visual prosthetic for the blind: how would it be most useful?

Hi; I will try this again as apparently my login timed-out. If anyone from AFB reads this, it'd be helpful if the website threw a dialog box to let the user know his/her login has timed-out.
I'm having more of an issue answering this question than I thought. Blind since age 6 (i'm 45) I've developed enough habbits to address any day to day issues I may have had. some things I can think of
parents coloring or putting puzzles together with small children, i.e. a parent blind since birth won't know wat blue or red looks like, so feedback could be useful in selecting and teaching, and maybe even coloring with the child.
mowing the lawn in straight lines, being able to find the patches I missed without help.
will it be waterproof? finding the edge of a diving oard would be easier...
playng basketball with my son, being able to locate the backboard from 20 feet out or so
as a competitive powerlifter, it'd be nice to find the bar on the platform without help.
most of the things I miss or would like wouldn't be helpful to you as they are more dynamic in nature. catching a football, driving, ETC.
best of luck, this is exciting. First step in getting closer to real manufactured vision.
thanks for taking an interest.

Re: We are developing a visual prosthetic for the blind: how would it be most useful?

My computer is set to display at 150% and high contrast and I read print on a CCTV, so indoors I am well off.

#1 However, in marketing seeing the product types and brands is difficult. My strong pocket lens is ha handy way to read "Nutrition Facts" labels, but only the small print like them, close up. It's Being told only that it is in Aisle 7 and then having to hunt for Canned Peas that I get int trouble. Oreos is easy; the box is big and distinctive, Vanned vegetables are tough to find.

#2. What device to human interfaces besides hearing do you have in mind? Touch? Vibration?, Zip 02906

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