High-tech glasses under development to help the nearly blind see

An Ottawa, Canada company is developing computerized glasses that help people with severe visual impairments see — as well as zoom in on and replay what they saw with the press of a button.

The company, eSight Corp., received a $500,000 grant from the Ontario government this week to develop its evSpex product as part of a special $4.5 million fund to help 10 start-up companies bring products to market.

The device, which resembles a pair of large sunglasses, has a high-resolution camera on the outside and tiny LCD screens on the inside that project images to the wearer’s eyes.

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Before the image is projected, it’s custom-processed by a tiny computer, said company president Rob Hilkes.

“So that when it’s presented to a person who has diseased eyes … it’s presented to the pieces of their vision that are most functional,” he added.

Réjean Munger, a senior scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute who helped develop the glasses, said that can help people with a variety of diseases.

“We can take advantage of every bit of vision they have,” he said.

The company hopes to start commercial production next year.

http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2009/09/11/ottawa-esight-glasses-technology-company-blind.html

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