Development of 3D digital glasses for enhancing mobility of visually impaired people to open strategic product lines for participant SMEs

In DIGIGLASSES project a group of SMEs aims to develop a marketable digital tool for the visually impaired, which will be able to provide 3D vision for the users, corrected and customized for the special symptoms of the user’s eye disease. By this combined solution, not only the symptoms of the unique disease will be decreased, but the stereoscopic vision allows judging distances within the environment.
The members of DIGIGLASSES consortium believe that the concept is worthy and promising not only as an effective low vision aid, but also from the business point of view. The feedback from the optical and vision aid devices market validates more efforts to invest in developing this innovative technology.
Nowadays there are about 5,000,000 people living with visual impairment in Europe to the point where common eyeglasses are not sufficient to ensure them equal access to such everyday activities like using public transport or take a walk on the street unattended. In case the visual capability is lower than 10% they need special equipment such as binoculars-glasses or loupes to read texts, watch television and work with computers.
The standard of living of visually impaired people is significantly lower than the average. Even in the USA the employment rate of the visually impaired is about only 45%. This ratio is under 40% in UK, and is estimated to be fewer than 30% in Eastern European countries. One of the most important objectives of experts and organizations working for increasing the standard of living of the visually impaired is to increase their mobility to make them able to reach more easily education, work places and social activities.
The most significant eye diseases that cause serious vision loss are AMD (age-related macular degeneration), cataract, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy. Most prevalent symptoms of visual impairment are blurred vision, decreasing angle of vision, distortion of image, darkened area in the center of the image, apparent fading of colors, cloudy vision, blind spots, etc. In a lot of cases these symptoms are applying combined.
The DigiGlasses project aims to help this group of visually impaired people by providing them with a glasses like digital tool to convert the real view of the environment to a sharper, more focused picture by increasing contrast and using edge detection.
The plan is to develop a pair of digital “glasses” working with a camera chip, a signal processing unit and a small LCD or LED screen. The captured picture will be analyzed and processed based on the necessary corrections. One of the planned corrections is contrast increasing and edge detection which will help the visually impaired recognize the different objects in their surroundings.

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 Project Acronym: DIGIGLASSES
 Project no. 315127
 Starting Date: 01.08.2012
 Duration in months: 24
 Status: On-going

The DIGIGLASSES project is co-funded by the European Commission through the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) managed by REA-Research Executive Agency ( through the funding scheme “Research for the Benefit of SME-s” under Grant Agreement No.315127.