Dr Stephen Hicks

One in every 300 people worldwide is classified as legally blind. Of these, most (up to 90%) have some remaining sight called residual vision. This can be limited to an awareness of colour, light, shapes and motion. Stephen and his team have developed a non-invasive visual display that can be worn like glasses to enhance the usefulness of residual vision.

Stephen Hicks projectThe glasses work by detecting the three dimensional structure of nearby objects and preferentially highlighting the nearest and most important objects, such as people, faces and obstacles.

Traditional assistive technologies for the visually impaired usually involve touch or sound-based devices. Although useful, these older solutions are hard to learn and provide a fairly limited increase in quality of life and independence.

Stephen's company Oxsight (a spin-out of the University of Oxford) is currently refining the prototype into a new lightweight pair of glasses, and a market-ready device is expected soon. It will initially be sold online, and potentially made available on the high street in the future.

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