This project is the work of computer vision scientist Philip Torr and neuroscientist Stephen Hicks, both of whom work at the United Kingdom’s University of Oxford. For the past several years, they’ve been developing smart AR glasses, which pick up on visual weaknesses in a person’s eyesight and enhance these details — allowing individuals to navigate independently, avoid collisions, or see better in dark or low-light conditions. These glasses use a combination of smart computer vision algorithms and cameras to register scenes in front of an individual, and then exaggerate certain details of it — such as increasing image contrast, highlight specific features, or creating “cartoonish representations of reality” — depending on the requirements of the user. For example, a person with blurry vision due to glaucoma can have the salience of certain important parts of an image enhanced.
Having started their work in the research realm, Torr and Hicks spun it off as its own company, called OxSight, in 2016. To help with this, they have received a number of investments, including a $658,000 grant in the form of a Google Global Impact Award, and additional funding from angel investors. With their help, they now plan to roll the technology out commercially later this year. The glasses are powered by Android, although the creators promise that the final versions will look just like regular sunglasses, so they shouldn’t make their users stand out from the crowd.
OxSight is a University of Oxford venture that uses the latest smart glasses to improve sight for blind and partially sighted people. OxSight’s aim is to develop sight enhancing technologies to improve the quality of life for blind and partially sighted people around the world. Enhancing vision for people affected by conditions like glaucoma, diabetes and retinitis pigmentosa as well as some other degenerative eye diseases.